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Gold Edges Down Ahead of U.S. Jobs Report

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11/03/2017 | 12:18pm CET
By David Hodari 

LONDON--Gold prices ticked lower Friday, while the U.S. dollar inched up ahead of the monthly jobs report due later in the day.

The precious metal was down 0.05% at $1,275.32 a troy ounce in midmorning trade.

Copper, meanwhile, was up 0.37% at $6,951 a metric ton after slightly better-than-expected data on China's services sector.

Gold prices were under gentle pressure from the stronger dollar, with investors awaiting the U.S. nonfarm payrolls job data, due out at 12:30 GMT.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which weighs the currency against a basket of 16 others, was last 0.13% higher, having risen 1% in the past month.

"Investors are absolutely watching the jobs figures," said Carsten Menke, a Julius Baer commodity analyst.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal predicted the addition of 315,000 jobs to the economy during October. The U.S. jobs market contracted by 33,000 jobs in September, amid a wave of hurricanes and forest fires during the month.

The jobs report is a key indicator of the strength of the U.S. economy, and a strong showing could help smooth the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates as expected when it meets Dec. 13.

"In terms of that December FOMC meeting, that rate hike seems to be a given now. The report would need a pretty big beat in order to move gold by much," Julius Baer's Mr. Menke said.

Data from CME Group last put the probability of a December rate increase from the Fed at 98.2%.

Thursday's release in the U.S. of the Republican tax bill was also weighing on gold.

With House Republicans unveiling their plans to cut the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35%, "gold lost because of talk of a very pro-business tax policy being introduced," said David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets, in a note.

Among precious metals, silver was flat at $17.11 a troy ounce, palladium fell 0.43% to $994.70 a troy ounce and platinum fell 0.21% to $923.70 a troy ounce.

Among base metals, zinc fell 0.02% to $3,210.50 a metric ton, aluminum rose 0.78% to $2,188.50 a metric ton, tin fell 0.18% to $19,540 a metric ton, nickel gained 1.32% to $12,695 a metric ton and lead rose 0.90% to $2,466 a metric ton.

Write to David Hodari at [email protected]

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