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Gold settles lower; jobs data reheats Fed worries

Reuters with CNBC.com
AP

Gold settled under $1,325 on Thursday, as the dollar held firm after weekly jobless claims data showed an improving U.S. labor market, which could support a wind-down of the Federal Reserve's bond buying later this year.

U.S. jobless claims fell to a near six-year low last week, official data showed on Thursday. The reading gives a clearer view of the labor market's health after an update in government computer systems in California and Nevada threw claims data into disarray earlier this month.

Spot gold, steady above $1,330 before the release of the U.S. data, fell 0.7 percent to $1,323 an ounce, after gaining nearly 1 percent in the previous session. for December delivery closed $12.10 lower at $1,324.10 an ounce.

Chart: Precious Metals

A stronger dollar makes gold and other commodities priced in the U.S. currency more expensive for buyers in other countries.

Concerns about a possible U.S. federal debt default and government shutdown next week as the U.S. Congress is struggling to pass a spending bill to keep the government funded beyond Oct. 1, has spurred some demand for the metal as a safe haven in recent sessions.

"Gold would thrive from uncertainty about the U.S. debt ceiling talks and the Fed tapering, " Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said.

"But data showing an improving U.S. labor market earlier today may be the reason for some profit-taking, and if the U.S. numbers continue to improve we could still expect the tapering in December."

Bullion gained more than 4 percent last week after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke refused to commit to starting a reduction in quantitative easing this year, defying expectations for a $10 billion cut to the $85 billion monthly bond-buying stimulus.

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