PRECIOUS-Gold slips, set for best week in three on smaller Fed rate-hike bets

Reuters

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      U.S. non-farm payrolls data due at 1330 GMT
    

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      Dollar index down about 1% for week 
    

  
 (Updates prices)
    By Ashitha Shivaprasad
       Dec 2 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Friday ahead of a
key U.S. jobs report, but were set for their best week in three
as the dollar weakened on prospects of slower U.S. interest rate
hikes.
        Spot gold  XAU=  fell 0.2% to $1,799.80 per ounce, as of
0729 GMT, after hitting its highest since Aug. 10 at $1,804.46
earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures  GCv1  were down 0.1%
at $1,813.30.
    Gold prices have risen about 2.5% this week in what would be
their second straight weekly gain.
    The dollar index  .DXY  held steady but was headed for a
weekly loss of about 1%, weighed down by expectation that the
peak in U.S. interest rates was on the horizon.  USD/  
    A weaker greenback makes dollar-priced gold less expensive
for overseas buyers. 
    After Fed Chair Jerome Powell's comment on Wednesday, the
dollar corrected heavily and this supported gold's appeal, said
Hareesh V, head of commodity research at Geojit Financial
Services in Kochi, India.
    "The $1,805 level may act as an immediate resistance for
gold, a break above which may trigger fresh rallies."
    Earlier this week, Powell had said it was time to slow rate
hikes. Rising rates have kept a hold on gold's traditional
status as an inflation hedge this year, as they translate into
higher opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding metal.
 FEDWATCH 
    Investors now await the U.S. Labor Department's non-farm
payrolls data due at 1330 GMT.
    "A softer print on wage growth and NFP would be a case of
all stars aligned for further dollar weakness and that should
further benefit gold. However, an  upside surprise in the report
may halt gold’s ascend, especially with prices trading near key
resistance level," OCBC FX strategist Christopher Wong said.
        Spot silver  XAG=  was flat at $22.77, platinum  XPT= 
fell 0.1% to $1,040.13 and palladium  XPD=  lost 0.5% to
$1,932.45.
  
 (Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; Editing by
Rashmi Aich and Subhranshu Sahu)
 ((Ashitha.Shivaprasad@thomsonreuters.com;))

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