SINGAPORE Gold held steady above $1,230 an ounce on Friday, after posting its biggest quarterly rise in nearly 30 years on waning expectations of U.S. rate hikes, with investors waiting for U.S. non-farm payrolls data for more cues.
* Spot gold XAU= was little changed at $1,232.10 an ounce by 0046 GMT, following a 0.6-percent increase overnight.
* With a 16-percent jump, gold on Thursday recorded its best quarterly performance since 1986 as global growth concerns diminished expectations of further U.S. interest rate hikes this year. A tumble in the global stock market and the U.S. dollar triggered safe-haven demand for the metal.
* Bullion is sensitive to rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets, while boosting the dollar.
* Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said this week that the U.S. central bank should proceed only cautiously as it looks to raise interest rates.
* New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley on Thursday said he agrees with Yellen's views that the U.S. central bank should proceed cautiously, particularly given risks from slow growth abroad.
* All eyes are now on U.S. non-farm payrolls data due later in the session that will be watched for clues about the labour market and the economy.
* U.S. payrolls are expected to grow by 205,000, according to a Reuters poll. A stronger number could revive expectations of higher U.S. rates, strengthen the dollar and hurt gold.
* Global manufacturing surveys due on Friday will also be in focus.
* The U.S. Mint sold 38,000 ounces of American Eagle gold coins in March, down 54.5 percent from the previous month, according to the latest data.
* India's gold demand in the March quarter is set to drop by about two-thirds from a year ago to its lowest in seven years, as higher prices and a strike by jewellers curbed sales in the world's second-biggest consumer.
* Higher gold prices curbed demand for the precious metal in Asia this week, with premiums in several major markets taking a hit, traders in the top consuming region said.
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Joseph Radford)
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