Gold rises ahead of ECB, real focus on US jobs

July 5 (Reuters) — Gold prices rose towards two-week highs on Thursday, with investors reluctant to make big bets after pricing in an expected European Central Bank (ECB) rate cut, with investors moving on to focus fully on key U.S. jobs data on Friday.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,618 an ounce by 1004 GMT, treading water along with equities and the euro, also little changed ahead of the ECB meeting, where policy makers are likely to cut rates to a record low to contain the debt crisis.

Bullion is up more than 1 percent on the week, potentially heading towards its first back-to-back weekly gains since late February.

“I think the ECB is priced in — it’s been a case of buy the rumour all week and now probably some profit taking on the announcement,” Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said.

“The market would really need something big like a Fed move – not the ECB or Bank of England which is a bit more of a minor consideration.”

Friday’s June U.S. employment data is likely to reflect the impact of the euro zone crisis and weak economic data and this could encourage the Federal Reserve to take more measures to stimulate economic growth.

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