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Gold was little changed on Thursday morning in Asia, as investors digested remarks from a top U.S. Federal Reserve official that indicated the central bank could begin asset tapering sooner than expected.

Gold futures were trading at $1,813.60 by 1:09 AM ET (5:09 AM GMT).

Gold rose more than 1% during the previous session as the U.S. released some economic data that said ADP non-farm employment change was at 330,000 in July, lower than expected. The data also said the services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was 59.9, while the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) non-manufacturing employment was at 53.8 and the ISM non-manufacturing PMI was at 64.1.

Investors now look to Friday’s U.S. jobs report, including non-farm payrolls, to gauge the Fed’s next move.

In Asia Pacific, Australian trade data for June, released earlier in the day, said exports rose 4% month-on-month, imports grew 1% month-on-month and the trade balance stood at AUD10.496 billion.

The yellow metal gave up most of its overnight gains, however, after Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida suggested that conditions for interest rates hikes could be met by the end of 2022. He also said the Fed could begin asset tapering later in the year, earlier than expected.

Asia Pacific investors are trying to strike a balance between the weak U.S. economic data and hawkish comments from Fed officials, putting the spotlight over Friday’s U.S. jobs report, including non-farm payrolls, DailyFX strategist Margaret Yang told Reuters.

“For gold to breach the $1,835 (resistance level), some catalysts could be a much poorer than expected non-farm payrolls… Another is a rapid flare-up of Delta variant in the United States which could lead to lockdowns and social distancing,” she added.

Investors now await the Bank of England’s policy decision, due to be handed down later in the day.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases globally pass the 200 million mark as of Aug. 5, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

In other precious metals, silver was little changed at $25.34 per ounce, after it hit a near three-week peak on Wednesday. Platinum fell to an over seven-month low of $1,005.50 earlier in the session and was last down 1.5%., while palladium eased 0.1%.

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