Stable Gold Could Rise For The Week On Hopes Of Fed Pause And Banking Issues

May 5 - Gold prices were flat on Friday but were set for their biggest weekly gain in nearly two months, as hopes of a pause in the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate hike cycle and banking worries bolstered the safe-haven metal's appeal.

Spot gold was little changed at $2,050.29 per ounce by 0208 GMT, but it was up 3% for the week. U.S. gold futures were up 0.2% at $2,060.10.

On Thursday, prices jumped to $2,072.19, just shy of a record high of $2,072.49 hit in 2020, after the Fed signalled a likely pause in interest rate hikes.

"Given the reminder that the Fed are data dependent and not considering cutting rates this year. Traders will actively seek weak data from the U.S. to justify potential (rate) cuts," said Matt Simpson, a senior market analyst at City Index.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell pushed back on market expectations of rate cuts this year and highlighted it would watch incoming data to determine future monetary policy decisions.

PacWest Bancorp's (PACW.O) decision to explore strategic options sparked investor worries of a widening financial crisis.

Mounting risks to the U.S. economy have also supported strong investor demand for gold as they sought haven assets, ANZ said in a note.

Economic uncertainty and lower rates boost demand for the zero-yield asset.

The dollar index was set for a weekly drop, making gold more attractive for overseas buyers.

Investors are awaiting the U.S. Labor Department's non-farm payrolls (NFP) data due at 1230 GMT.

"We expect dollar bears to bounce at the whiff of soft employment data which could send gold higher... A strong report could be a concern for gold bulls," Simpson added.

Spot silver rose 0.1% at $26.10 per ounce,

Platinum gained 0.8% to $1,047.27 and palladium edged 1% higher to $1,462.45. Both the metals were headed for a weekly decline.