PRECIOUS-Gold struggles near 2-1/2-week low on US jobs data – Reuters

* Gold retains declines from 3-day losing streak
    * U.S. job growth slowed in August; unemployment rate down
    * Dollar steadies, Asian stocks dip

 (Updates prices)
    By A. Ananthalakshmi
    SINGAPORE, Sept 7 Gold struggled near a
2-1/2-week low on Monday, retaining losses from the prior three
sessions, after U.S. payrolls data failed to provide clarity on
the timing of a Federal Reserve rate hike.
    Spot gold was little changed at $1,123.15 an ounce by
0637 GMT. The metal had fallen to $1,116.75 on Friday, the
lowest since Aug. 19, posting its second straight weekly loss.
    Bullion slid on Friday after data showed U.S. nonfarm
payrolls increased 173,000 last month following an upwardly
revised gain of 245,000 in July, although the jobless rate
dropped to a 7-1/2-year low. 
    Investors had been awaiting the jobs report to gauge the
strength of the economic recovery and whether it would prompt
the U.S. central bank to hike rates at its policy meet later
this month. The Fed has already indicated that the timing of a
hike is largely data-dependent.
    "While the U.S. economy added fewer-than-expected jobs in
August, one was still left with the impression following
Friday's non-farm payrolls report that the labour market is in
pretty good health," ANZ analysts said in a note. 
    "The overall tone of the data was certainly solid enough to
leave the Fed in play later this month." 
    Bullion traders said gold will likely be under pressure
until the Fed meet on Sept. 16-17 due to persistent uncertainty.
Gold prices have been dented this year by expectations the Fed
will hike rates for the first time in nearly a decade.
    Higher rates could diminish demand for non-interest-paying
    Weakness in the dollar and equity markets failed to provide
an upside to gold, typically seen as a safe-haven asset.
    The dollar steadied on Monday, after dropping on mixed U.S.
employment data. 
    Asian stocks sagged, with risk sentiment dampened as
Shanghai shares wobbled after the Chinese markets resumed
trading following a four-day long weekend. 
    Gold prices got little support with the resumption of
trading in key gold consumer China.
    Premiums on the Shanghai Gold Exchange were steady at about
$4 an ounce on Monday, indicating stable buying interest.
    With the U.S. markets closed for the Labor Day holiday on
Monday, trading is likely to be thin.

    PRICES AT 0637 GMT    
 Metal            Last      Change   Pct chg
 Spot gold         1123.15     0.55     0.05
 Spot silver         14.58     0.01     0.07
 Spot platinum         989        0        0
 Spot palladium     579.72     7.72     1.35
 Comex gold         1122.4        1     0.09
 Comex silver        14.59    0.041     0.28
 Euro               1.1132                  
 DXY                96.355                  
 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the
 most active months

 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Joseph Radford and
Subhranshu Sahu)