* Dollar steadies near one-year high
* Gold likely to digest a positive surprise in NFP data -analyst (Recasts, adds comment, updates prices)
Oct 7 (Reuters) – Gold prices eased in a tight range on Thursday as investors steered clear of big bets before U.S. jobs data that could determine the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy normalisation plans.
Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,759.31 an ounce by 0904 GMT while U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,761.20.
The U.S. dollar was steady near a one-year high, buoyed by inflation concerns and expectations that the Fed would have to act sooner to normalise policy.
While gold is traditionally seen as an inflation hedge, a stronger dollar makes gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.
“There are some hiccups related to supply chain and energy markets, but this is not something that will derail the global economy. Hence, there are no real reasons for investors to seek gold as a safe haven,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.
However, given the “record high” number of open job positions in the U.S, a positive surprise on the non-farm payrolls should be adjustable for the gold market without causing a major sell-off”, Menke said, adding that prices are likely to be volatile.
Meanwhile, a strong showing of private jobs in September ahead of Friday’s employment numbers fuelled bets that the Fed could start tightening monetary stimulus soon.
Reduced stimulus and higher interest rates lift bond yields, translating into increased opportunity costs of holding non-yielding bullion.
“We’ll need to see gold prices break above major resistance levels before we have a better idea if gold is about to end its short-term bearish trend,” said Vincent Tie, sales manager at Singapore dealer Silver Bullion.
Elsewhere, spot silver rose 0.1% to $22.62 an ounce and palladium gained 0.3% to $1,895.07 while platinum fell 0.3% to $981.51. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman )