PRECIOUS-Gold falls more than 1 pct after upbeat US jobs report

* US job growth accelerates in February

* Gold still heads for weekly gain on Ukraine tensions

* Physical demand quiet as prices stay above $1,300/oz

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LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - Gold tumbled more than 1 percent on Friday after stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data helped soothe fears of an abrupt slowdown in the world's biggest economy.

Employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month after creating 129,000 new positions in January, the U.S. Labor Department said. The unemployment rate, however, rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected non-farm payrolls to rise 149,000 and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 6.6 percent.

Spot gold fell as much as 1.5 percent to a session low of $1,329.35 an ounce, and was trading down 1.2 percent at$1,335.20 by 1527 GMT.

Gold futures for April delivery fell $16.70 to $1,335.00 an ounce.

"In the short term, given the better-than-expected data, and provided nothing happens in Ukraine over the weekend, gold could fall below $1,330," VTB Capital analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov said.

"We need another month or two of sustained better-than-expected jobs data out of the U.S., which I think we will have because the weather will also improve, to see gold pressured even lower."

The stronger jobs figures bolstered the dollar, which rose 0.1 percent versus a basket of currencies, while U.S. shares opened higher on Wall Street.

Market concerns that a recent soft patch in the U.S. economy was due to more than a harsh winter had raised doubts about the pace of the Federal Reserve's stimulus reduction.

Gold had rallied as central bank liquidity increased in the years of the financial crisis.

The metal, seen as a safe haven, was still on track for a fifth straight week of gains, capitalising on gains made earlier in the week when tensions in Ukraine escalated.


Gold hit a four-month high on Monday at $1,354.80 an ounce on rising tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking Crimea peninsula.

Crimea's parliament voted on Thursday to join Russia, and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum in 10 days.

Physical demand for gold has been subdued since prices crossed $1,300.

In top consumer China, premiums over spot prices were below $1 an ounce on Friday, compared with over $20 an ounce earlier in the year.

Palladium was headed for its biggest weekly gain in nearly eight months, with a 5 percent increase. It was trading down 0.4 percent on the day at $774.25 an ounce, having hit a one-year high of $781.50 an ounce on Thursday.

Political tensions in top producer Russia and union strikes in second-biggest producer South Africa have triggered fears of supply constraints.

Platinum was on track for its second straight weekly gain, up 2.2 percent. It was down 0.3 percent on the day at $1,474.49.

There is no sign of an end to a six-week old platinum strike in South Africa. Wage talks collapsed on Wednesday and thousands of platinum miners from the AMCU union marched through Pretoria on Thursday to protest against what the union says are state and company efforts to break the strike against the world's three top producers.

Silver fell 2.7 percent to $20.86 an ounce.

(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson and Susan Fenton)