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* Gold on track for worst week since end-March
Robust U.S. jobs data knocks gold below $1,400 an ounce
* Nonfarm payrolls increased 224,000 in June vs 160,000 expected
* Palladium set to post fifth weekly rise (Updates prices, adds fresh comments and details)
By Swati Verma
July 5 (Reuters) - Gold slid more than 1.5% on Friday and was set for its first weekly fall in seven weeks after data showed U.S. job growth rebounded strongly in June, which lowered the likelihood of an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve this month.
Spot gold dropped to $1,393.71 per ounce by 09:29 a.m. EDT (1329 GMT). U.S. gold futures declined 1.8% to $1,396.10 an ounce. The metal is set for a weekly decline of 1.3%, which could be its biggest since end-March.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 224,000 jobs last month, the most in five months, the data showed. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising 160,000 jobs in June.
"The U.S. jobs data is driving all the pressure on gold right now. The payroll numbers crushed all expectations. That may decrease the urgency for a Fed cut in July," said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA Bank.
Adding pressure on gold, the dollar index jumped to an over two-week peak against a basket of six major currencies.
Federal funds futures implied traders now only see a 9.0% chance the U.S. central bank will decrease key money market rates by half a point, down from 29% on Wednesday, according to CME Group's FedWatch program.
Gold is highly sensitive to interest rates and a lower chance of a cut would increase the opportunity cost of holding the non-interest-bearing bullion.
"Most of the markets though, still see some kind of cut but it pulls away that expectation of a 50-basis-points cut and most what can be expected is a quarter-basis-point cut," Gaffney added.
The outlook for gold still remains positive, however, analysts said. Gold prices climbed to a six-year high of $1,438.63 an ounce last week and are still holding above key technical levels.
"The yellow metal will likely find buyers as the global growth slowdown should keep demand strong for gold," Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.
Gold is often seen as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty.
In the physical market, top Asian hubs saw tepid demand this week due to high prices, with dealers in India offering the biggest discounts in about three years as local rates surged following a surprise hike in the gold import duty.
Silver slid 1.5% to $15.05 per ounce, while platinum dipped 2% to $815.96.
Palladium gained 0.4% to $1,568.61 an ounce and was heading for a fifth straight weekly gain. (Reporting by Swati Verma and Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru)