PRECIOUS-Gold prices firm as rate hike bets, Fed minutes looming

* Most US markets closed on Monday

* Fed minutes due Wednesday

* Spot gold can go up to $ 1,813 / oz – technical (Price updates)

July 5 (Reuters) – Gold held below a two-week high on Monday as concerns eased over an earlier-than-expected rate hike by the Federal Reserve after a mixed set of data on US employment, while the focus shifted to the minutes of the US Central Bank’s Policy Meeting in June.

Higher interest rates translate into a lower opportunity cost of holding bullion, which earns no interest.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $ 1,788.60 an ounce at 6:49 am GMT after hitting its highest level since June 18 at $ 1,794.86 on Friday. Most US markets were closed Monday for Independence Day.

US gold futures rose 0.3% to $ 1,788.50.

“Last week’s payroll figures provided many mixed signals and the data was not strong enough to move that needle from the Fed,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner of SPI Asset Management.

“However, economic growth in the United States is quite strong, inflation is quite strong… We have to be very aware because the markets are still playing a hawkish hand from the Fed and this will limit the ambitions of gold to the rise. . “

Data on Friday showed that U.S. businesses in June hired the most workers in 10 months, but unemployment rose, labor force participation remained stagnant and the pace of hourly wage growth slowed.

Meanwhile, a rebound in the U.S. labor market is boosting investor attention to economic data and the Fed’s next move, as markets welcome further evidence of a robust economic recovery amid concerns about the persistent inflation.

The minutes of the latest Fed meeting due for release on Wednesday could further shed light on policymakers’ views on inflation and monetary policy.

Spot gold could break resistance at $ 1,789 an ounce and hit $ 1,813, as its analysis of wave pattern and retracement suggests, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.3% to $ 26.54 an ounce, palladium gained 0.2% to $ 2,791.52, and platinum rose 0.7% to 1,097.15 $.

Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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