PRECIOUS-Gold drops to over one-week low as firmer dollar dents appeal

(Updates prices, adds comment)

* Investors await U.S. jobs data due on Friday

* Progress made on inflation goal, says Fed’s Barkin

* Difficult to make a strong bullish case for gold- analyst

June 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell to a more than one-week low on Tuesday, dented by the dollar’s gains and with the focus turning to a U.S. jobs report that could offer a clearer picture on the Federal Reserve’s next move on monetary policy.

Spot gold slipped 0.5% to $1,768.83 per ounce by 1104 GMT, after touching $1,766.20, its lowest since June 21. U.S. gold futures fell 0.7% to $1,768.80.

“Market participants are reluctant to build new positions due to gold’s repeated failure to break above the psychologically important $1,800 level, upcoming labour market data and inflation,” Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said.

He said the dollar was still pretty strong and hampering gold.

The dollar index rose 0.2%, making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

The U.S. Labor Department on Friday is expected to report a gain of 690,000 jobs in June, compared with 559,000 in May, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin said, the Fed had made “substantial further progress” towards its inflation goal in order to begin tapering asset purchases.

Gold is often seen as a hedge against inflation, although a rate hike by the Fed would increase the opportunity cost of holding bullion and dull its appeal.

“Considering the Fed’s recent hawkish tilt, it is difficult to make a strong bullish case for gold,” said Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity Group.

Growing signs that point to a sooner-than-expected U.S. interest rate hike, and the preceding tapering, should heap more downward pressure and bring spot gold closer to April’s $1,730 support region, Tan added.

In other metals, silver fell 0.7% to $25.91 per ounce, platinum slipped 1.3% to $1,076.63, and palladium shed 0.6% to $2,670.30. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair, Kirsten Donovan)