Gold Near 2-Wk. High Ahead of U.S. Jobs Data

Gold prices were hovering near two-week highs early Friday, as investors awaited the U.S. jobs report, indicating the health of the economy, after grim economic data raised the prospects of more rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

Lower interest rates would further weigh on bond yields and boost demand for non-yielding bullion.

Spot gold was steady at $1,717.49 U.S. per ounce, having hit its highest since April 27 at $1,721.76 U.S. in the previous session. U.S. gold futures added 0.2% to $1,729.70.

The metal gained about 2% on Thursday on the back of bleak U.S. economic data, which along with uncertainties over global economic recovery and U.S.-China relations. So far this week, gold is up about 1%.

Millions more Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, with the total number of people who have filed claims since March 21 rising to about 33.5 million, data showed on Thursday.

U.S. non-farm payrolls data, due at 8:30 EDT, is forecast to have plunged by a historic 22 million in April, which would obliterate the record dive seen during the 2007-2009 recession.

Elsewhere, palladium jumped 2.1% to $1,895.40 U.S., platinum rose 0.2% to $764.74 U.S. per ounce.

Silver was flat at $15.50 U.S. per ounce, having hit a three-week peak.