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Gold struggles below $1300; near six-week low

goldindiaGold traded below $1,300 an ounce on Monday, near a six-week low, and could face more pressure from weak physical demand in Asia and growing optimism about the U.S. economy.

Spot gold was up slightly by 0.1 percent to $1,295.20 an ounce by 0018 GMT, but remained not far from a six-week low of $1,285.34 hit on Friday.

Physical demand in top bullion buyer Asia has been quiet due to the recent volatility in gold prices, which have edged lower for two straight weeks. <GOL/AS>

Recent U.S. economic data has been strong, diminishing the need for gold as a safe-haven. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated earlier this month that interest rates could rise in the first half of 2015.

Investors are now eyeing U.S. nonfarm payrolls data on Friday for further clues about the economy.

Hedge funds and money managers cut their bullish bets in gold and slashed a net long in silver futures and options nearly in half in the week to March 25, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday.

Job cuts are a certainty in South Africa’s platinum belt because of losses stemming from a 10-week strike in the industry, the chief executive of world No. 1 producer American Platinum  said, raising the risk of further unrest.-Reuters