Gold rose around 1 percent on Friday after sharply weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data supported the view that the U.S. Federal Reserve will take a gradual approach to tapering its bond-buying program this year.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose just 74,000 in December, the smallest increase in nearly three years and far below the 196,000 forecast by economists. The unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage point to 6.7 percent.
"This is a bad NFP release and has given gold a boost … but one swallow does not make a summer and one bad NFP print doesn't change 12 months of gold-bearish macroeconomic news," Macquarie analyst Matthew Turner said.
"Gold has been on the firm side this year and this data helps support that but the effect is being moderated by the fact that the Fed has begun tapering,'' Turner added. "And so it would need a bigger shock to shift it from that course … nobody is now thinking the U.S. economy is near collapsing."
Spot gold last rose 1.4 percent to $1,245 per ounce. Prices were headed towards their third consecutive week of gains, up around 0.3 percent.
U.S. gold futures were last up 1.3 percent to $1,245 an ounce.
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