Gold little changed ahead of US nonfarm payrolls

Gold inched up to trade above $1415.00 an ounce, heading for the fifth consecutive weekly gain on unrest in Libya and other MENA region countries.

The previous session, gold shed $20.40 or 1.42% to close at $1415.70, while gold price was setin London at $1421.50 per ounce declining from $1430.50 during the AM fixing.

Gold failed to remain above resistance at $1430 levels, the previous high recorded in December, as the rise in prices encouraged some sell off by investors to lock in profits.

Yesterday, gold dropped sharply on possible peace plan proposed by the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for Libya which is expected ease tensions between the Libyan leader Qaddafi and rebels, but the undergoing clashes between Qaddafi's loyalists and protesters over oil-rich destinations may give support to oil and thereby gold.

Oil rebounded today to $102.71 a barrel compared with yesterday's closing at $101.66, where it has strong support at $100 levels.

Spot gold is traded at $1416.85 after recording a high of $1419.57 and a low of $1413.35.

Among other precious metals, platinum edged up to $1833.00 from the day's opening of $1829.00, palladium soared to $806.20 from $805.00 and silver plummeted to $34.39 from $34.45, as of 08:15 GMT.

However, the main highlight today will be on the US jobs report due at 13:30 GMT. Nonfarm payrolls are expected to increase by 196,000 in February, the most added jobs since May, while unemployment rate is estimated to rise to 9.1% from 9.0%.

If the data came worse than expected, gold may be able to continue its upside direction, targeting new record highs.

Ahead of the awaited report, the US dollar is showing slight surge against majors, as depicted by the dollar index which rose to 76.48 from the day's opening level at 76.44.

In the coming period markets may witness changes in central banks' monetary policy to fight inflation as the ECB said yesterday that rising interest rate next month is possible, sending the euro to four-month high versus the dollar.

In fact, raising interest rate will lower inflation and thereby may reduce gold's appeal as an inflation hedge, but further tightening by central banks may shave growth prospects and therefore trigger safety demand on the yellow metal.