By Ashitha Shivaprasad(.) – Gold prices firmed on Friday, poised for their best week since April 5, following recent economic data that boosted bets of an interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve. gained 0.2% at $2,350.87 per ounce by 0212 GMT after hitting a more than two-week high earlier. Prices have risen 2.2% so far this week. U.S. rose 0.7% to $2,356.90.Data on Thursday showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week.”Gold has regained its mojo this week courtesy of some softer U.S. macro data. Initial jobless claims figures were worse than expected, which comes hot on the heels of the weaker NFP (nonfarm payrolls) figures last Friday, indicating that the jobs market may be starting to loosen up,” said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst at KCM Trade.Traders expect the Fed to start its easing cycle in September. Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding gold.The inflation reports have the potential to shift the “needle with regards to the expected rate cutting timeline,” if inflation is shown to be edging lower, gold could be a beneficiary, Waterer added. The U.S. producer price index and consumer price index data are due next week. There is “considerable” uncertainty about where U.S. inflation will head in the coming months, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said on Thursday.Elsewhere, a senior Israeli official said the latest round of indirect negotiations in Cairo to halt hostilities in Gaza had ended and Israel would proceed with its operation in Rafah.3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation . See disclosure here or
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.Spot silver was up 0.2% to $28.38 per ounce and was set to register its best week since April 5. Platinum firmed 0.6% to $983.78 and palladium rose 0.5% to $971.50. Both metals were set for weekly gains.