June 5, 2017 / 10:43 AM / in 2 months

PRECIOUS-Gold prices hit highest since April after weaker U.S. jobs data

    * Dollar hovers close to seven-month low
    * Palladium hits near three-year peak
    * Silver marks highest since April 26

 (Updates prices)
    By Zandi Shabalala
    LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices hit a six-week high
on Monday, buoyed by disappointing U.S. jobs data that dimmed
the prospects for an aggressive run of interest rate increases
in the world's biggest economy.
    U.S. job growth slowed in May and employment gains in the
prior two months were not as strong as previously reported, data
showed on Friday, suggesting a loss of momentum in the labour
market.             
    Higher interest rates put pressure on gold prices by
increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
    Spot gold        was steady at $1,280.31 per ounce by 1350
GMT, after climbing 1.1 percent on Friday. It hit a peak of
$1,282 early in the session, its highest level since April 21.
    "Gold has got a bit of a lift from payroll numbers from
Friday which has carried through to today but there is also
support from terrorist events," ETF Securities commodities
strategist Nitesh Shah said, referring to an attack in London at
the weekend.             
    "Gold tends to be the port of call when people are anxious
and events like that make people anxious," he said.
    British Prime Minister Theresa May resumes campaigning on
Monday for the national election due in three days. The vote is
expected to be much tighter than previously predicted.
            
    "(European elections have) been an underlying supportive
factor for some time, providing some good safe-haven buying but
not enough to spark any panic buying. That's why we think things
will be relatively subdued," ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said.    
    U.S. gold futures         were up 0.2 percent at $1,283.10
an ounce.
    The dollar index, which tracks exchange rates against a
basket of six major currencies, kept a lid on gains in bullion
by edging higher on Monday. But it was not far from Friday's low
of 96.654, its weakest since Nov. 9.       
    Elsewhere, palladium        hit its strongest level since
September 2014 at $847.90.
    UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said it was likely that
technical factors had supported palladium in recent days after
the market broke through a previous high. 
    "I am a little bit cautious in the near term and expect
setbacks due to elevated speculative positioning and relatively
weak car (sales) in the main palladium markets."
    Silver        hit a high of $17.61 an ounce, its strongest
since April 26. Platinum        eased 0.3 percent to $955.70.

 (Additional reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru;
Editing by Greg Mahlich and Dale Hudson)
  

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