PRECIOUS-Gold prices gain as market braces for U.S. jobs data


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 (Recasts, updates prices)
    * U.S. weekly jobless claims data due at 1230 GMT
    * SPDR Gold Trust holdings hit highest since October 2016
    * Interactive graphic tracking the global spread- open
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    By Brijesh Patel
    April 2 (Reuters) - Gold edged higher on Thursday as
investors braced for U.S. jobless claims data, which should give
clues on how much the coronavirus is hurting the world's biggest
    A stronger dollar limited the precious metal's upside,
    Spot gold  XAU=  was up 0.4% at $1,596.60 per ounce by 1204
GMT, while U.S. gold futures  GCv1  rose about 1% to $1,607 an
    "Both bulls and bears can build a narrative in gold right
now, with low inflation, weak physical demand from key buyers
and the dollar's strength for the bears and the economic shock,
negative real yields and cenbank easing for bulls," said Saxo
Bank analyst Ole Hansen.
    "The oil price jump is adding some 'risk on' to stocks as
well, which is probably reducing demand for gold a little bit."
    European shares rose in choppy trading, while crude oil
futures jumped 10% after U.S. President Donald Trump said he
expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to reach a deal soon to end
their oil price war.  .EU   O/R 
    The dollar  .DXY  held onto overnight gains as investors
rushed to the security of the world's most liquid currency.
    Market participants awaited weekly jobless claims report
from the U.S. Labor Department due at 1230 GMT for an indication
of the economy's health.*:nL1N2BP1F8
    Goldman Sachs expects the jobless claims to jump to a record
6 million for the March 22-28 week.*:nL8N2BQ2D0
    The United States has the highest number of confirmed cases
of COVID-19. Nearly 188,000 people have been infected and 4,000
have died, according to a Reuters tally of data.*:nL4N2AY3AS
    "Should stocks come under pressure over the next couple of
weeks as the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. and elsewhere
accelerates rapidly, gold may find itself a haven once again for
risk-averse investors," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said in a
    Indicative of sentiment, holdings in the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust  GLD , rose
0.18% to 968.75 tonnes on Wednesday, their highest since October
2016.  GOL/ETF 
    Among other precious metals, palladium  XPD=  rose 3.3% to
$2,289 per ounce, while platinum  XPT=  gained 0.4% to $720.64.
    "Auto data out of the U.S. and Europe paint a bleak picture.
Chinese data is beginning to show green shoots and should be
supportive to palladium and to a lesser extent platinum," MKS
PAMP said in a note.
    Silver  XAG=  jumped 2.2% to $14.30 per ounce.

SPDR Gold Trust ETF holdings versus spot gold prices
 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru;
Editing by Jan Harvey and Susan Fenton)
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