Gold struggles as dollar firms ahead of US jobs data

Gold looked likely to extend losses to a fifth straight session on Friday as the dollar rebounded ahead of US bnon-farm payrolls data later in the session.


* Spot gold XAU= was little changed at $1,276.80 an ounce by 0041 GMT after four days of losses.

* The metal has closed lower every session this week despite hitting a 15-month top of $1,303.60 on Monday.

* Gold is down 1.3 percent for the week, its biggest weekly drop in six though the direction could change depending on US jobs data later.

* The dollar rose to a one-week high against a basket of major currencies on Thursday after sliding to a 15-month low this week as traders closed out profitable bets against the greenback before the US payrolls report. [USD/]

* Investors are eyeing US economic data to gauge the Federal Reserve's outlook on monetary policy.

* The Fed raised rates for the first time in a decade in December from near zero but has since stood pat, in part because of global economic uncertainty.

* A strong payrolls numbers could prompt the Fed to raise rates sooner than later.

* Economists polled by Reuters forecast US employers likely added 202,000 workers in April following a 215,000 increase in March with the jobless rate holding at 5.0 percent.

* Gold is sensitive to interest rates and returns on other assets as rising rates lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

* Assets in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.47 percent to 829.44 tonnes on Thursday to the highest in over two years. [GOL/ETF]

* Silver demand hit a record high last year as increased buying by the coin and bar, jewellery and photovoltaic sectors offset weakness in industrial demand, a Silver Institute report showed on Thursday.

* Soaring silver prices are changing the market's 2016 landscape as bargain-hunting coin buyers step to the sidelines, and futures and options participants take the reins, said Erica Rannestad, a senior analyst at GFMS.