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Gold settles 2% lower after US jobs data

Gold
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Gold fell 2 percent on Thursday after better-than-forecast U.S. jobs data encouraged investors to sell the traditional safe-haven market, reviving expectations the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates soon.

Data on Thursday showed claims for state unemployment benefits declined 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 262,000 for the week ended April 25, the lowest reading since April 2000.

Read MoreJobless claims fall to a 15-year low; consumer spending picks up

Separately, U.S. consumer spending rose 0.4 percent last month after rising 0.2 percent in February, while the Chicago Purchasing Management Index jumped more than expected in April.

Spot gold was heading for its biggest daily fall since March 6, dropping as much as 2.3 percent to a session low of $1,176.80 an ounce earlier. It was last lower at $1,182.50 an ounce, on track to finish April down a shade for its third straight month lower.

U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled down $27.60 an ounce, or 2.3 percent, at $1,182.40.

Read More U.S. economy stalls in Q1 as weather, lower energy prices bite

"It looks like the trigger (for today's weakness) was the U.S. data, with strong jobs creation," Saxo Bank senior manager Ole Hansen said.

"Since the Fed yesterday said it is not too worried (about the economic slowdown) because it's seasonal, a set of data that points towards confirming that statement, makes the market a bit jittery."

Higher interest rates would dent demand for bullion, a non-interest-paying asset.

"It's all an echo of yesterday's sentiments, however, we have noticed a slight pick up in physical buying in India after prices fell to the $1,180 level,'' said Howard Wen, precious metals analyst at HSBC Securities in New York.

The rose 0.3 percent against a basket of currencies after the U.S. jobs data, but later fell to a nine-week low.

"Ultimately the determinant for sustained price direction will come from the rate hiking cycle once it is underway ... the inevitability of that remains the constraint on gold prices," Standard Chartered analyst Nicholas Snowdon said.

Read MoreLack of fear leaves gold looking vulnerable

Physical bullion demand in Asia has quietened in recent days as gold held above $1,200 an ounce. A significant pick-up in demand would support global prices.

Silver followed gold lower, falling 3.1 percent to $16.07 an ounce. Platinum fell 1.1 percent to $1,139.74 an ounce, while palladium was down 0.6 percent at $775.50 an ounce.