Gold prices steadied on Wednesday, as the dollar levelled with bets for an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve in the first half of 2024, ahead of key U.S. jobs data this week that could offer more clarity on the central bank's rate path.


* Spot gold edged up 0.1% at $2,020.39 per ounce by 0204 GMT, trading in a tight range of about $5.

* U.S. gold futures for February delivery also rose 0.1% to $2,038.70.

* Bullion had climbed to a record high of $2,135.40 on Monday on elevated bets for a rate cut following Fed Chair Jerome Powell's comments last week, before dropping more than $100 in a single day, as uncertainty over the timing of the monetary policy easing loomed.

* The dollar index fell 0.1% against a basket of currencies, hovering near a two-week high, while yields on 10-year Treasury notes ticked up at 4.1858%.

* A stronger dollar makes greenback-priced gold more expensive for other currency holders. * U.S. job openings fell to a more than two-and-a-half year low in October, signalling that higher rates were dampening demand for workers.

* Traders are pricing in about a 60% chance of a rate cut by March next year, CME's FedWatch Tool shows.

* Lower interest rates tend to support non-interest-bearing bullion.

* Investors are awaiting U.S. non-farm payrolls data on Friday, which could help further gauge the rate outlook.

* Israel's military assaulted southern Gaza's main city in what it said was the fiercest combat since it began its ground invasion to eliminate Hamas five weeks ago, while the U.S. again pressed Israel to minimise Palestinian civilian casualties.

* Spot silver rose 0.3% to $24.21 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.2% to $900.57. Palladium rose 0.7% to $940.93 per ounce, hovering near a more than five year low.

(Reporting by Harshit Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)