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Gold consolidates after US data with focus on Fed

Gold bullion bars and coins.
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Gold firmed on Friday, having shed 1% in the previous session on robust U.S. jobs data, as U.S. gross domestic product numbers for the second quarter came in better-than-expected bolstered by a strong consumer. 

Spot gold rose 0.29% to $1,418.21 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.28% to $1,418.7.

Prices were still on track for a first weekly drop in three, pressured in part by a stronger dollar and spillover from Thursday's slide after comments from European Central Bank Governor Mario Draghi lowered expectations for an immediate cut to interest rates.

Draghi cautioned against pulling the trigger too quickly on policy easing, though he all but pledged to loosen monetary settings further as the growth outlook deteriorates .

"Gold is consolidating in a broad range from $1,400 to $1,440," said Jigar Trivedi, commodities analyst at Mumbai-based Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers, adding that support has been provided by ECB hints of stimulus from September.

Amid tepid data from the world's largest economy, investors expect the U.S. Fed to cut interest rates by 0.25 basis points at its policy meeting ending on July 31.

"The market will now focus its attention on next week's Fed meeting ... if Fed Chair Powell indicates that a rate cut cycle is imminent, the dollar is likely to depreciate, which should in turn benefit gold," Commerzbank said in a note.

On the trade war front, uncertainties over whether Washington and Beijing will be able to settle their differences kept many investors on their guard. Negotiators from the two sides will meet in Shanghai next week.

"We expect gold prices to reduce further in coming sessions ... nonetheless as geopolitical risk in the middle east has escalated, there might be limited downside," said Anand Rathi analyst Trivedi.

In other precious metals, platinum dipped 0.2% to $863.50 an ounce while palladium was flat at $1,528. Silver, meanwhile, fell by 0.3% to $16.35.

"Silver is cheap relative to gold, so it has bigger potential. It is going to pull back lower ... any dip below $16 could push buying," said Gianclaudio Torlizzi, managing director at consultancy T-Commodity in Milan.

Silver was on track for a third week of gains, having risen 1.4% so far.