Gold prices were flat on Thursday as the held firm, as investors moved to the sidelines ahead of a U.S. payrolls report that is expected to provide clues on the Federal Reserve‘s tapering timeline.
* Spot gold was flat at $1,761.36 per ounce by 0118 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,763.10.
* The dollar held close to a one-year high, touched last week, making gold less appealing to those holding other currencies.
* Overnight, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries eased off a more than three-month high, but remained above 1.5%.
* U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, due on Friday, is expected to show an improvement in the labour market, important criteria for the Federal Reserve to start withdrawing pandemic-era support for the economy.
* Reduced stimulus and higher interest rates lift bond yields, translating into increased opportunity costs of holding bullion that pays no interest.
* Data on Wednesday showed that U.S. private payrolls increased more than expected in September as COVID-19 infections started subsiding, boosting hiring at restaurants and other high-contact businesses.
* The U.S. Senate appeared near to a temporary deal to avert a federal debt default in the next two weeks, after Democrats said they might accept a Republican proposal to defuse the partisan standoff that threatens the broader economy.
* Spot silver was unchanged at $22.59 per ounce, platinum fell 0.2% to $982.01, and palladium rose 0.6% to $1,899.73.