By Arundhati Sarkar
Aug 6 (Reuters) – Gold was pinned below the $1,800 mark on Friday as the dollar firmed in the run-up to a key U.S. employment report that could prove pivotal to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy strategy.
Spot gold XAU= fell 0.3% to $1,799.20 per ounce by 0844 GMT and was on course for its worst week since mid-June. U.S. gold futures GCv1 eased 0.4% to $1,801.10.
The U.S. non-farm payrolls (NFP) report is due at 1230 GMT, and is expected to show healthy growth in July.
Sentiment remained cautious as a stronger report could further boost the dollar, weighing on gold, said Michael Langford, director at corporate advisory AirGuide.
While in the short term, the NFP data is more likely to see gold trading below $1,800/oz as the need for stimulus will be seen as softening, the overall challenges globally with COVID-19 have not reduced, Langford said.
After remarks by Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida sparked jitters over the timing of tapering, Fed Governor Christopher Waller said it might be possible for the U.S. central bank to start withdrawing its accommodative monetary policy sooner than some expect.
Higher interest rates raise the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing gold.
Making gold more expensive for those holding other currencies, the dollar index .DXY ticked higher, while benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields US10YT=RR also rose. USD/
The dollar has been gaining some ground because there’s a “tug of war between those who believe that the Fed should bring forward the timing of tapering, and those who believe it’s still too early,” said Ricardo Evangelista, a senior analyst at ActivTrades.
Gold is likely to suffer some losses if the early tapering scenario materialises, Evangelista said.
Silver XAG= fell 0.1% to $25.10 per ounce and was down 1.5% for the week.
Platinum XPT= was down 0.6% to $999.37 and set for its biggest weekly fall since June.
Palladium XPD= rose 0.2% to $2,655.23.
(Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
((Arundhati.Sarkar@thomsonreuters.com; twitter.com/Arundhati_05; +1 646 223 8780 Ext: 2776))
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