PRECIOUS-Gold headed for weekly rise; US jobs data in focus
* Gold to drop more to $1,650-technicals * Set to gain for a fourth week in five * Coming Up: U.S. nonfarm payrolls - 1330 GMT (Updates prices) By Lewa Pardomuan SINGAPORE, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Gold ticked lower on Friday after recent gains prompted investors to book profits, but the metal was heading for a small weekly rise before the release of key U.S. employment data that may show a modest growth. Although weaker prices attracted buying from jewellers in China and Thailand, most investors turned their attention to the U.S. data after a Reuters survey showed nonfarm payrolls are expected to have risen 160,000, a marginal step up from December's 155,000 job gain. "Investors are still trading on news, particularly from the United States," said Brian Lan, managing director of GoldSilver Central Pte Ltd in Singapore. "Precious metals haven't gotten their safe haven status back fully yet." With the nonfarm data coming out, investors probably prefer to take profits before planning their next move, he said. Gold eased $1.13 to $1,661.86 an ounce by 0604 GMT -- on course for a weekly rise of 0.2 percent, its fourth week of gains in five. It hit a near one-week peak of $1,683.39 on Wednesday after data showed the U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank in the fourth quarter. U.S. COMEX gold futures for February was little changed at $1,660.40 an ounce. "If the data released is better than expected, people will tend to move back to stocks as opposed to buying into precious metals," Lan said. Shares in Asia wiped earlier gains on Friday as a tepid Chinese manufacturing report dented sentiment, while the euro was at its highest level since November 2011 on diminishing worries about Europe's debt crisis. The euro's strength pushed the dollar index to its lowest since late December, which in theory should have boosted gold prices. Gold rallied to a record of around $1,920 in September 2011, when a worsening debt crisis in Europe sparked a buying rush. Previous rounds of asset purchases by the U.S. Federal Reserve had also weakened the dollar, prompting investors to turn to gold as a hedge against inflation. "There's a little buying on the physical side because premiums are slightly cheaper at $1 an ounce. There's some buying from mainland China," said a dealer in Hong Kong, where premiums for gold bars fetched $1.20 last week. "But I think gold is a bit tired after it failed to break $1,700 an ounce." In other precious metals, silver, platinum and palladium tracked gold lower. The CME Group said it will add platinum and palladium options onto its Globex electronic platform beginning late in February in a move to capitalize on growing investor interest in platinum group metals. Precious metals prices 0604 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1661.86 -1.13 -0.07 -0.76 Spot Silver 31.35 -0.06 -0.19 3.53 Spot Platinum 1669.24 -7.01 -0.42 8.75 Spot Palladium 739.67 -0.80 -0.11 6.89 COMEX GOLD FEB3 1660.40 -0.20 -0.01 -0.92 263 COMEX SILVER MAR3 31.37 0.01 +0.04 3.75 3576 Euro/Dollar 1.3619 Dollar/Yen 92.15 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Additional reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.
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