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Gold slips from one-month high after US data; palladium soars

Gold
Source: World Gold Council

Gold slipped on Friday from the previous day's one-month high as the dollar strengthened against a basket of currencies, lifted by U.S. non-farm payrolls data that showed a slowing in hiring last month but an increase in wages.

The report supported the view that the U.S. Federal Reserve will press ahead with interest rate increases this year, analysts said.

Spot gold was down 0.7 percent to $1,171.80 per ounce. The metal on Thursday hit its highest since Dec. 5 at $1,184.90.

U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled at $1,173.40 per ounce.

The metal was still 2.2 percent higher this week, its biggest weekly rise in two months, helped by a broad weakening of the dollar earlier in the week and a retreat in U.S. bond yields.

But with markets uncertain ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, investors turned cautious after gold reached its highest since Dec. 5 at $1,184.90 on Thursday.

"Any profit that can be booked at this early stage is welcomed by most, so that's why we're seeing a scaling back a bit," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.

Non-farm payroll data showed that the United States added 156,000 jobs in December, less than expected, but a rebound in wages pointed to sustained labor market momentum, stronger growth and further interest rate rises from the Fed.

The data "doesn't change much in terms of the interest rate outlook," said Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler.

The Fed has indicated that it will press ahead with further rate hikes this year after its second in a decade last month.

Higher interest rates exert downward pressure on the gold price by increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

"If we can manage to hold above $1,162 then the market has the potential of moving up towards testing the really big area of resistance, which is just above $1,200," Saxo Bank's Hansen said.

Among other precious metals, palladium hit a five-week high of $755.40 an ounce before slipping back to $744.95, up 0.9 percent.

The metal used in vehicle catalysts to clean exhaust emissions has risen 10 percent this week, its biggest gain since the week ending July 1, driven by data that showed U.S. sales of new cars and trucks hit a record high in 2016.

Among other precious metals, spot silver was down 0.7 percent at $16.46, having hit a peak of $16.71, its highest since Dec. 15, in the previous session.

Platinum was 0.6 percent lower at $961.99, putting it on track for a gain of 7.2 percent this week. The metal touched its highest in nearly eight weeks at $975.80 on Thursday.