Gold prices were steady near a three-week low touched in the previous session
on Thursday, traders were keeping an attentive eye on developments surrounding negotiations
between Greece and its international creditors.
Market players were now anticipating the weekly report on U.S. jobless claims due later in the day, as well as the big U.S. economic report of the week to come Friday morning with the May U.S. jobs report from the Labor Department. The non-farm payrolls number is expected to come in at up 225,000 jobs in May.
On the Comex, gold futures for August delivery shed $3.60, or 0.3%, to trade at $1,181.30 a troy ounce during European morning hours. Prices held in a range between $1,181.20 and $1,186.30.
On Wednesday, gold prices dropped to $1,179.10, the lowest level since May 11, before settling at $1,184.90, down $9.50, or 0.8%, after a batch of upbeat data bolstered the case for a U.S. interest rate hike this year.
Futures were likely to find support at $1,176.60, the low from May 4, and resistance at $1,204.70, the high from June 1.
On Wednesday, the U.S. ADP national employment report was released and came in at up 201,000 in May, which was a slight miss to the downside, but just above expectations for an increase of 200,000. The economy created 165,000 jobs in April.
Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department said yesterday that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed by 19.2% in April to $40.88 billion from a deficit of $50.57 billion in March. Analysts had expected the U.S. trade deficit to narrow to $44.0 billion in April. U.S. exports edged up 1% to $189.91 billion in April, while imports declined 3.3% to $230.78 billion.
The upbeat data raised hopes that the economy was picking up after contracting in the first quarter, spurring speculation that the Federal Reserve could raise rates as soon as September.