Gold on Friday slipped from the one-month high touched in the previous session on a surge in dollar, with traders waiting for U.S. jobs data later in the day for clues on the pace of possible U.S. interest rate hikes this year.    

Spot gold eased 0.3 percent to $1,176.36 per ounce by 0543 GMT. The metal on Thursday hit its highest since Dec. 5 at $1,184.90.    

U.S. gold futures were down 0.4 percent, at $1,177 per ounce.     

“We can see a bit of profit-taking ahead of the nonfarm payroll data,” said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.    

A firm dollar will put pressure on gold prices ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration, he said.    

U.S. services sector activity held at a one-year high in December as new orders surged, while the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell near a 43-year-low last week, suggesting the economy ended 2016 with strong momentum.      

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was up 0.2 percent at 101.680.      

Investors are focused on Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, with economists expecting job gains of 178,000 in December.    

U.S. Fed has indicated that it would press ahead with further interest rate hikes this year after its second rate increase in a decade last month.    

Positive data usually puts pressure on gold prices, because investors raise bets on a U.S. interest rate hike that would increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.    

Spot gold failed to break a resistance at $1,182 per ounce and it may either hover below this level or retrace to a support at $1,159, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Source: Reuters UK