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Gold hits three-week low on firmer dollar, U.S. jobs data

Reuters  |  LONDON 

By Eric Onstad

(Reuters) - Gold fell to a three-week low on Thursday, weighed down by a stronger dollar as investors began to assess the potential for another U.S. later in the year, supported by data showing a strong U.S. jobs market.

The losses in gold were limited, however, with bullion underpinned by a myriad of uncertainties, including a report that U.S. President Donald Trump was under investigation.

"Just like in previous rate hikes, the next day the market starts looking at the probability of the next hike because everything was factored in beforehand," Natixis metals analyst Bernard Dahdah said.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a notch as expected on Wednesday and indicated further tightening before the end of the year.

U.S. data on Thursday bolstered the case for higher rates, as the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to shrinking labour market slack.

"If you just look at economics, there's a chance of more downside. The Fed was talking about another potential later this year, which is negative for gold. But there's still enough for people to worry about in geopolitics at different levels," Dahdah said.

Higher interest rates are negative for gold because they increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold by foregoing the chance of earning interest on cash holdings.

Spot gold fell 0.6 percent to $1,253.09 per ounce by 1242 GMT after touching $1,251.18, the weakest since May 24.

U.S. gold futures for August delivery fell 1.6 percent to $1,256 an ounce.

The dollar index was up 0.5 percent after the jobs data and following Wednesday's Fed meeting which lifted rates and also pointed the way to a trimming of the huge emergency funds pumped into the economy since 2009.

Gold got some support from safe haven buying after the Washington Post reported that Trump was being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice.

As long as uneasiness around the Trump government among speculators and investors exists, gold will hold up pretty well, said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager at ICBC Standard Bank.

"Spot gold was also supported by short-term interest in physical gold in Asia, especially from Shanghai this morning," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said.

Among other metals, silver shed 1 percent to $16.71 per ounce after slipping to $16.64, the lowest since May 19.

Platinum dropped 1.9 percent to $918, having hit the lowest in over a month at $913.50, while palladium shed 0.5 percent to $858.70 per ounce after rallying by 25 percent so far this year.

"We're bullish on palladium compared to last year, but we think it has overshot," Dahdah said.

(Additional reporting by Nithin Thomas Prasad and Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton and Edmund Blair)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)