Gold eyes best week in three on bets of smaller Fed hikes

Gold eyes best week in three on bets of smaller Fed hikes
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BENGALURU (Dec 2): Gold prices eased on Friday (Dec 2) ahead of a key US jobs report, but were set for their best week in three as the US dollar weakened on prospects of slower US Federal Reserve rate hikes and signs of cooling inflation.

Spot gold fell 0.3% to US$1,796.71 per ounce, as of 0247 GMT, after hitting its highest since Aug 10 at US$1,804.46 earlier in the session. US gold futures were down 0.2% at US$1,810.70.

Gold prices have risen about 2.4% so far in the week in what would be their second straight weekly gain.

The dollar index held firm on the day but was headed for a weekly loss of about 1%, weighed down by expectation that the peak in US interest rates was on the horizon.

A weaker greenback makes dollar-priced gold less expensive for overseas buyers.

After Fed Chair Jerome Powell's comment on Wednesday, the US dollar corrected heavily and this supported gold's appeal, said Hareesh V, head of commodity research at Geojit Financial Services in Kochi, India.

"The US$1,805 level may act as an immediate resistance for gold, a break above which may trigger fresh rallies," he said.

Earlier this week, Powell had said it was time to slow interest 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.

Investors now await the US Labor Department's non-farm payrolls data due at 1330 GMT for clues about how rate hikes have affected the labour market.

"Job data would be critical for gold as it will hint to possible actions from the US central bank. A better-than-expected data may lift the dollar and likely weigh on gold prices and vice versa," Hareesh said.

Spot silver slipped 0.7% to US$22.61, platinum held steady at US$1,041.38 and palladium lost 1% to US$1,922.13.