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BENGALURU: Gold prices climbed on Friday, en route to their best week in five, with zero-yield bullion building on momentum fuelled by weaker US jobs data this week that reinforced expectations for interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

Spot gold rose about 1% to $2,368.36 per ounce by 12:52 p.m. ET (1652 GMT), while US gold futures for June delivery rose 1.5% to $2,375.40 per ounce.

Gold gained more than 1% on Thursday after data showed a bigger-than-expected rise in weekly claims for state unemployment benefits.

The surge in gold buying is mostly technically driven, but last week’s payroll data and Thursday’s initial unemployment claims data are lending support, said Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures.

“Concerns about the employment situation are oftentimes the first crack in the economy and could pull forward the Fed’s first interest rate cut,” Streible added.

Financial markets expect the US central bank to start easing its cycle in September. Lower interest rates generally tend to boost the appeal of bullion since it pays no interest.

Investors are now looking forward to the US producer price index and consumer price index data due next week, both of which could significantly impact gold and silver prices.

“If we get hot inflation or even warm inflation data next week, that’s going to throw cold water on any notions that the Fed might be able to cut interest rates as soon as September,” said Jim Wyckoff, senior market analyst with Kitco.

Meanwhile, near-record domestic prices stifled demand for physical gold in India, the world’s second-biggest consumer, during a key festival.

Spot silver fell 0.2% to $28.28 per ounce, while spot platinum rose 1.9% to $997.50 per ounce and spot palladium gained 1.1% to $977.75 per ounce.

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