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Gold prices were flat to slightly lower on Thursday and the dollar held steady near one-year high as investors await the weekly jobless claims report later today and the release of the monthly jobs report on Friday for clues to the Federal Reserve’s exact timeline to begin asset tapering.

Spot gold slipped 0.1 percent to $1,760.56 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,761.10.

Economists expect U.S. employment to increase by 488,000 jobs in September after an increase of 235,000 jobs in August. The unemployment rate is expected to dip to 5.1 percent from 5.2 percent.

A rebound in equity markets weighed on gold after Russian President Vladimir Putin assured to increase natural gas exports to Europe to resolve the energy crisis.

Putin said that Russia is prepared to stabilize global energy markets by sending more gas to Europe than it has contracted for this year.

In another development, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday announced a short-term offer to suspend the U.S. debt ceiling after Democrats intensified pressure on Republicans to act to avert a default.

In a Twitter statement, McConnell said that the GOP will allow Democrats to use normal procedures to pass an emergency debt limit extension at a fixed dollar amount to cover current spending levels into December.


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