PRECIOUS-Gold bounces after U.S. jobs data misses forecast
* Dollar falls 0.4 percent after U.S. jobs data
* European shares, U.S. 10-year T-notes erase gains
* U.S. nonfarm payrolls rise less than expected at 162,000
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LONDON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Gold rebounded on Friday as the dollar dropped after mixed signals about the U.S. labour market quashed prospects the Federal Reserve will start tapering its stimulus as early as next month.
U.S. employers slowed their pace of hiring in July, with job growth of 162,000 below the median forecast in a Reuters poll of 184,000. But the jobless rate fell to 7.4 percent.
Spot gold fell as much as 1.9 percent to $1,282.69 an ounce ahead of the data. It then bounced to $1,311.94, up 0.4 percent by 1342 GMT. U.S. gold futures for December delivery, which also dropped more than 2 percent earlier in the session, cut losses to around $1,310 an ounce.
"Going into the number there was a lot of positioning for a strong result, which pushed gold down ... so we are now having a relief rally," Standard Bank analyst Marc Ground said.
"There is a bit of ambiguity in the numbers because the unemployment figure is at multi-year lows but all-in-all I think gold may be able to hold above $1,300 in the coming sessions as the data is changing what people were thinking about the tapering story and the timing of it."
The dollar tumbled against the yen and the euro, European shares retreated from earlier two-month highs and benchmark U.S. Treasury yields fell back below 2.7 percent.
As gold pays no interest, the fall in returns from U.S. bonds is seen as positive for the metal.
The Fed has said its policy remains driven by data, but it offered no fresh hints in a statement on Wednesday that it was preparing to reduce its monetary stimulus at its next policy meeting in September.
Market players, therefore, are looking to U.S. data for clues on when such tapering might start.
The nonfarm payrolls came a day after weekly jobless claims and manufacturing data showed the world's largest economy was recovering steadily. The next data market participants will watch is the U.S. ISM non-manufacturing PMI on Aug. 5.
SPDR HOLDINGS FALL
As a gauge of investor interest, holdings in SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.7 percent to 921.05 tonnes on Thursday, hitting fresh four-year lows.
Outflows from the top eight gold ETFs tracked by Reuters have totalled 19 million ounces so far this year, or about $25 billion at current prices.
Physical demand has held up reasonably well despite the volatility in prices, traders said.
Premiums over London spot prices, one of the best measures of physical demand, were about $22 an ounce in China, which is set to overtake India as the top gold consumer this year.
Sales of gold bars and coins at the Perth Mint picked up in July from the previous month, as the metal logged its biggest monthly price gain since January 2012.
Silver rose 1.7 percent to $19.92 an ounce, closely tracking gold's fluctuations.
Platinum was down 0.2 percent at $1,433.74 an ounce and palladium lost 0.7 percent to $726.47 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson and David Evans)