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Gold dipped on Friday to hover below the $1,800 mark as the dollar firmed in the run-up to the U.S. employment report due later in the day, which is expected to show healthy growth in July.

Spot gold dropped 0.4 percent to $1,798.21 per ounce and was on course for its worst week since mid-June. U.S. gold futures were down half a percent at $1,799.45.

The U.S. non-farm payrolls report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists currently expect the report to show employment surged up by 870,000 jobs in July after an increase of 850,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate is expected to dip to 5.7 percent from 5.9 percent.

Fed Governor Christopher Waller said on Thursday that the U.S. economic recovery is progressing rapidly and the Fed would be able to pull back on accommodative monetary policy potentially sooner than others think.

Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari flagged risks from the delta virus variant, while Senator Joe Manchin urged Chair Jerome Powell to pare back economic stimulus to avoid stoking inflation.

Higher interest rates raise the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing gold.


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