Gold firms as dollar slips; U.S. nonfarm payroll data awaited


BENGALURU, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose slightly on Friday and were headed for their best week in 15, as the dollar weakened following a decline in U.S. Treasury yields, while investors awaited U.S. nonfarm payroll data for clues about the health of the world's top economy.

* Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,239.24 per ounce, as of 0125 GMT, having hit a near five-month peak at $1,244.32 per ounce in the previous session.

* U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,244.6 per ounce.

* The dollar index inched lower, weighed down by worries about lower U.S. long-term Treasury yields and expectations of a fewer rate hikes by the U.S. central bank.

* Atlanta Federal Reserve bank president Raphael Bostic on Thursday said he felt the Fed should continue raising rates towards a "neutral" level, noting that despite recent market volatility and increasing uncertainty, he did not see "any indications of a material weakening in the macroeconomic data at the moment."

* The U.S. economy is "performing very well overall," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said, capping a week of widespread market nervousness with a reminder that the U.S. economy continues to expand.

* Asian share markets tried to find their footing on Friday as speculation the Federal Reserve might be "one-and-done" with U.S. rate hikes helped salve some wounds after a punishing week.

* Gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) registered inflows in all the world's major regions in November, as volatile stock markets fuelled flight-to-safety buying, the World Gold Council said on Thursday.

* Markets face a test from U.S. payrolls data later in the session amid speculation the economy was heading for a tough patch after years of solid growth.

* U.S. oil prices stabilised on Friday, buoyed by a fall in U.S. crude oil inventories, but sentiment remained weak as producer group OPEC postponed a final decision on output cuts, awaiting support from non-OPEC heavyweight Russia.

* Most industrial metals prices fell on Thursday and copper hit a three-week low after the arrest of a top Chinese executive in Canada dampened hopes for a resolution to the U.S.-China trade conflict.

* The U.S. trade deficit jumped to a 10-year high in October as soybean exports dropped further and imports of consumer goods rose to a record high.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0700 Germany Industrial output Oct

0745 France Industrial output Oct

0745 France Trade data Oct

1000 Euro zone Revised GDP Q3

1000 Euro zone Employment Q3

1330 U.S. Nonfarm payrolls Nov

1330 U.S. Unemployment rate Nov

1500 U.S. Univ of Michigan sentiment index Dec

1500 U.S. Wholesale sales Oct




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