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Gold steady despite jump in non-farm jobs

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Gold ended the week on the back foot as US jobs numbers for April came in way higher than market forecasts.

Spot gold was already under pressure after the US Federal Reserve trimmed its bond buying programme by a further US$10bn a month on Wednesday. 

Some 288,000 jobs were created in the US in April, compared to forecasts of 215,000 and a revised 203,000 in March.

It was the best month for job creation since January 2012, with the rate of US unemployment also falling to a five year low of 6.3%.

Economists pointed out that the unemployment decline was boosted by a sharp fall in the number of people looking for work, but the US dollar and bond yields rose asthey suggested the figures may still tempt the Fed to accelerate its tapering policies.

Gold was boosted to record levels in 2012 by policies that have encouraged low interest rates and a weak dollar since the financial crash in 2008, but has weakened as these have been reined back.

Excitement over the non-farm payroll number overshadowed an escalation of the violence in Ukraine with the Kiev government launching full scale assaults to remover pro-Russian militia from buildings in the east of the country.

Two helicopters were reportedly shot down in Sloviansk as Ukraine forces battled to re-take the city.

Spot gold was trading flat at US$1,284 just ahead of the US open and heading for a slight drop on the week.

Silver, which has fared worse than gold in recent weeks, rallied a touch to US$19.14 while platinum was flat at US$1,420.

Market movers

Randgold Resources up 17p at 4,695p

Fresnillo down 2p at 828p

Anglo American up 2p at 1,566p

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