- Focus on non-farm payrolls data due on Friday
- Traders see 91% chance of 50 bps rate hike in December
- Next resistance for gold at $1,788-$1,808 - analyst
Dec 1 (Reuters) - Gold prices extended gains for a third straight session on Thursday, as the dollar slipped after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank might scale back the pace of its interest rate hikes as soon as December.
Spot gold gained 8.3% in November, ending its seven-month losing streak, as investors cheered Powell's comments at the Brookings Institution.
Lower rates tend to boost the appeal of non-yielding gold.
But Powell also cautioned that the fight against inflation was far from over.
Spot gold rose around 1% to $1,785.60 per ounce by 1305 GMT. U.S. gold futures climbed 2.2% to $1,797.80.
Rival safe-haven dollar fell 0.5% on the day, making gold less expensive for overseas buyers.
"The band between $1,788 and $1,808 is a significant area of resistance and a break above would signal a further recovery in gold prices," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, adding gold could see some profit-taking as it approaches that level.
Market participants now see a 91% chance of a 50-basis-point hike at the U.S. central bank's upcoming December meeting.
Traders also took stock of news that top bullion consumer China could announce an easing of its COVID-19 quarantine protocols in the coming days.
But Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said the rally post Powell's was "outsized," considering that the markets had already moved up on expectations of a slowdown of rate hikes earlier this month.
"We still see short-covering in the futures market as the dominant driver of these moves while investors are still staying on the sidelines," Menke added.
Investors' attention now turns to the U.S. Labor Department's non-farm payrolls (NFP) data due on Friday.
If the NFP numbers confirm the weakness seen in yesterday's data, then the "market would most certainly have the excuse that it has waited to move higher," Hansen added.
Spot silver rose 0.2% to $22.24 per ounce, while platinum fell 0.3% to $1,030.04.
Palladium added 0.5% to $1,891.20.
Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips