October 4, 2019 / 10:33 AM / 18 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold gains on global growth fears, eyes on U.S. jobs data

* U.S. non-farm payroll data due at 1230 GMT

* Platinum on track for biggest weekly decline since May

* Palladium to post weekly loss after eight straight weekly gains (Updates prices)

By Sumita Layek

Oct 4 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Friday on growing fears of a global economic slowdown and rising expectations of more U.S. interest rate cuts, with investors now looking for cues from U.S. jobs data.

Spot gold was up 0.3% at $1,509.66 an ounce by 1128 GMT, having climbed to its highest since Sept. 25 at $1,518.50 in the last session. Prices are on track for a weekly gain of about 0.8%.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.1% at $1,515.50.

"We've received more evidence that global growth is struggling. We most likely have a global manufacturing recession and there is a risk that this spills over into the services, which is why gold has recovered quite rapidly after that sell-off last week," said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.

"Fundamentals for gold are still positive, we have slowing global growth, lingering trade tensions and we see more rate cuts by the Fed. So this is an environment where gold should prosper and prices should be at $1,575 towards the end of the year."

Data from the United States showed services sector activity slowed to a three-year low in September, following the manufacturing sector, which contracted to the weakest level in a decade. Hiring by U.S. private employers also slowed further last month.

Investors will now scan the U.S. non-farm payrolls report due at 1230 GMT for clarity on the health of the world's biggest economy.

European stocks rose slightly, helped by hopes of easing measures by the Fed, but were on track for their worst weekly performance in a year.

Two U.S. Fed policymakers on Thursday signalled they are open to delivering another rate cut, while Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said the central bank "will act as appropriate to sustain a low unemployment rate and solid growth and stable inflation".

"Fed Chair Jerome Powell stated in July that this (rate cut) step was just an insurance against international risks and not the beginning of a new cycle, but in September it became clear it is a cycle and now more FOMC members are being supportive to rate cuts," said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig.

"Yields are declining again, stocks are not performing well, the U.S. dollar is flat, which is all supportive to gold."

Lower interest rates decrease the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and weigh on the dollar.

Elsewhere, platinum fell 0.9% to $881.90 an ounce and was down over 5% this week, its biggest weekly decline since May.

Silver rose 0.2% to $17.59, and palladium climbed 0.3% to $1,658.99, but is set for a 1.3% fall on the week, after eight weekly gains. (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)

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