By David Hodari
LONDON--Gold prices were pushed lower by a rallying dollar Friday, and were on course for a weekly loss ahead of the release of key U.S. jobs data.
The precious metal fell 0.25% to $1,345.60 a troy ounce in midmorning trade.
The price of copper, meanwhile, was down 0.13% at $7,107.50 a metric ton, with currency moves eroding this week's gains.
The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the currency against a basket of 16 others, was last 0.29% higher, but still down by 3.18% so far in 2018. A stronger U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.
Gold's recent gains--the haven asset is up 3.3% year-to-date--have come in the wake of that sharp decline in the dollar, Commerzbank analysts said in a note.
The precious metal began to fall after ADP employment data out of the U.S. on Thursday signaled robust growth in the U.S. labor market.
With U.S. nonfarm payroll numbers due out later Friday, those Thursday data suggest the official statistics "will be good, which could weigh on the gold price in the form of a stronger dollar," the Commerzbank analysts said.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimate nonfarm payrolls rose by 177,000 in January while the unemployment rate continued to hover at 4.1%, its lowest level since December 2000.
Nonfarm U.S. jobs data are often seen as a bellwether for future Federal Reserve interest rate policy.
The dollar's recent pullback is by no means over, analysts say. But, while "the dollar downtrend has further to go... it's due for a pause as the market rethinks the Fed's policy destination," analysts at Société Générale said in a note.
Among precious metals, silver was down 0.41% at $17.15 a troy ounce, platinum fell 0.95% to $999.40 a troy ounce and palladium rose 0.04% to $1,045.90 a troy ounce.
Among base metals, zinc was down 1.25% at $3,517.50 a metric ton, aluminum was down 0.29% at $2,225.50 a metric ton, tin was up 0.28% at $21,530 a metric ton, nickel was down 1.9% at $13,690 a metric ton, and lead was down 0.77% at $2,644.50 a metric ton.
Ben Leubsdorf contributed to this article.
Write to David Hodari at [email protected]