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PRECIOUS-Gold eyes worst week since end-March ahead of U.S. jobs data

K. Sathya Narayanan

* U.S. non-farm payrolls data due at 1230 GMT

* Gold about 1.2 pct down so far this week

* SPDR Gold holdings fall to lowest in nearly 7 months

* Platinum touches one-month low (Adds comments, updates prices)

May 3 (Reuters) - Gold was steady on Friday as the market awaited U.S. non-farm payrolls data, but the metal was headed for its biggest weekly decline since the end of March as the dollar gained after the U.S. central bank doused expectations of a near-term rate cut.

Spot gold was steady at $1,270.29 per ounce, as of 1010 GMT. In the previous session, the metal dropped to $1,265.85, its lowest since the end of December.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.1 percent to $1,271.30 an ounce.

Gold has fallen more than 10 percent in the last two sessions and is down over 1 percent this week after the U.S. Federal Reserve emphasised it saw no compelling reason to consider a rate cut any time soon.

"People expected the next move from the Fed to be a rate cut but it doesn't look like there would be a rate cut anytime soon and the risk of another hike on the table increased after his statement," Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig said.

"(Right now) people are holding back and are waiting for the U.S. non-farm payrolls data ... the dollar is heading higher which is negative for the precious metals complex."

Better-than-expected non-farm payrolls data would tend to boost the dollar, as it would reinforce the economy's strength, and weighs on gold, analysts said.

Economists polled by Reuters are expecting total non-farm employment to have increased by 185,000 jobs in April.

The dollar was up about 0.2 percent against key rivals and was on track to post its third straight session of gains.

Meanwhile, market participants are also keeping a close watch on U.S.-China trade talks anticipating a resolution to the year long tariff war between the world's two largest economies.

A trade deal would boost investors appetite for riskier assets and dent bullion's safe-haven appeal.

Reflecting investor sentiment towards bullion, holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), SPDR Gold Trust, fell about 0.2 percent to 745.52 tonnes on Thursday, its lowest since Oct. 12.

"The ETF holdings in gold continue to decline and in the last few week specs on COMEX switched from net long to net short as there is a risk on approach from investors," said ING analyst Warren Patterson.

Silver was down 0.2 percent at $14.60 per ounce, holding close to a more than four-month low of $14.52 touched in the previous session.

Platinum rose 0.6 percent to $853.08 an ounce, having touched a one-month low of $839 earlier in the session, while palladium gained 0.5 percent to $1,360.70 an ounce. (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)