* Gold trades in narrow range ahead of U.S. data
* Bullion on track for second straight weekly fall
* Platinum off two-month lows, palladium off six-week lows
* GRAPHIC-2016 asset returns: reut.rs/1WAiOSC
By Zandi Shabalala
LONDON, Sept 2 Gold eased on Friday, heading for
its second consecutive week of losses as the dollar strengthened
ahead of U.S. jobs data which is expected to provide clues on
the timing of a possible interest rate rise.
Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,312.79 an ounce
by 1147 GMT, having hit its lowest since June 24 at $1,301.91 on
Thursday after jobless claims data beat expectations.
U.S. gold futures slipped by 0.1 percent to
$1,316.20 an ounce, with prices held in a narrow range by
uncertainty ahead of the payrolls data due at 1230 GMT.
"People don't have a strong opinion and the market is not
hugely positioned one way or the other," said Afshan Nabavi,
head of trading at MKS SA.
"Overall it feels like it's going to be like that until we
get some kind of confirmation about the direction of interest
Moves across financial markets were muted ahead of the U.S.
jobs data. Employers are expected to have added 180,000 jobs in
August, going by the median estimate of 91 economists polled by
An upbeat payrolls report would reinforce the view that a
U.S. rate rise is on the cards, with Fed officials having
sounded a hawkish note at a meeting last weekend, pressuring
Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates,
which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding
bullion while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.
"A good jobs number could generate enough concern over a
near-term rate rise to bolster the dollar and undercut gold,"
HSBC said in a note.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell for a third straight
session. Holdings dropped 0.57 percent to 937.89 tonnes on
Asian physical gold demand improved slightly this week as a
correction in prices prompted consumers to buy for the upcoming
festival and wedding season, with discounts in India narrowing
to their smallest in three months.
Silver was almost unchanged at $18.84 an ounce.
Platinum bucked the trend, rising 0.75 percent to
$1,050.80 after touching its lowest since July 1 at $1,035.15.
Platinum was heading for its fourth straight weekly loss.
Palladium rose 0.69 percent to $667, having dropped
earlier to a six-week low of $668.10.
(Additional reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru;
Editing by Jan Harvey and David Goodman)