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PRECIOUS-Gold eyes best week since March 2018 on rate cut views; U.S. jobs data in focus

Arijit Bose

data in focus@

* Gold up 2.3% so far this week

* Investors await U.S. jobs data due at 1230 GMT

* Platinum on track for its first weekly gain in 7

* Silver set to post best week in over 4 months

(Adds details and comments, updates prices) June 7 (Reuters) - Gold prices steadied on Friday, but remained on course for their best week since March 2018, after rising expectations for a U.S. rate cut and concerns that trade tussles could hit global growth boosted demand for safe-haven bullion. However, having failed earlier this week to breach its 2019 high of $1,346.73, analysts expect the metal to consolidate until there is fresh impetus.

Spot gold was steady at $1,335.27 per ounce at 0902GMT, while U.S. gold futures were down 0.2% to

$1,339.60. "We have had quite a move higher earlier this week, but we are moving towards levels where the market will struggle to go much higher," ING analyst Warren Patterson said. Gold has rallied in a short span of time, having gained about 2.3% this week, and is on track for its best seven days since week ending March 23, 2018. "Overall sentiment is still fairly supportive for the gold market," Patterson added, attributing the recent price rally to a two-pronged U.S. trade spat with Mexico and China, and hopes of an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The United States and Mexico concluded their second day of talks on trade and migration on Thursday and markets rebounded on optimism a deal could be close. However, it remains unclear whether Mexican pledges to curb migration flows will be enough to persuade Washington to postpone tariffs. U.S. President Donald Trump said he would decide whether to carry out his threat to hit Beijing with tariffs on at least $300 billion in Chinese goods after a meeting of leaders of the world's largest economies late this month. Gold's appeal as a safe-haven investment is bolstered in times of geopolitical uncertainty. "Gold is likely to stay muted through the rest of the day before the release of the non-farm payrolls. Investors want to see the impact on the U.S. jobs market before reassessing the current pessimism," Howie Lee, an economist at OCBC Bank, said. U.S. non-farm payrolls data at 1230 GMT will provide clues on the trajectory of interest rates. Meanwhile, New York Fed President John Williams on Thursday acknowledged the impact of trade and global growth concerns on business investment, but said he was keeping an open mind on interest rates.

Among other metals, silver rose 0.5% to $14.93 per

ounce, on track for its best week since late January.

Platinum edged 0.1% higher to $804.06 an ounce. The

metal was headed for its first weekly gain in seven.

Palladium dipped 0.1% to $1,350.75 an ounce.

(Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)