Brijesh Patel- Gold steadied on Tuesday, buoyed by worries over the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant and weaker bond yields, although caution over U.S. jobs data later this week kept bullion locked in a tight range.
Spot gold was steady at $1,812.36 per ounce by 10:16 a.m. EDT (1416 GMT), while U.S. gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,814.90.
"Gold is stuck in a consolidation pattern ahead of Friday's non-farm payroll report. Delta variant concerns and falling global bond yields should be supportive for gold prices," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
"But right now the market is fixated on when the Fed will taper and Friday's jobs number could determine how soon that may happen. The near-term outlook for gold is still bullish, but two robust non-farm payroll reports could put a wrench in that theory."
Restoring some of gold's appeal, the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields were pinned near two-week lows, while concerns around a surge in the Delta variant of the coronavirus kept investors on the edge.
Lower bond yields reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing gold.
Focus this week will be on the U.S. monthly jobs report for July, which is expected to offer more clarity on labour market health and potentially influence the Federal Reserve's tapering timeline.
Fed Governor Christopher Waller on Monday said the central bank could start to reduce its support by October if the next two monthly jobs reports each show employment rising by 800,000 to 1 million, as he expects.
"The discussion about tapering and the moment when it is finally announced are likely to weigh more heavily on the gold price than the reduction of the bond purchases itself," Commerzbank analysts said in a note.
Elsewhere, silver gained 0.1% to $25.46 per ounce, platinum dropped 1.6% to $1,040 per ounce, and palladium slipped 0.4% to $2,665.72.
(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky) ((Brijesh.Patel1@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 651 848 5832, Outside U.S. +91 8067493865; Reuters Messaging: Brijesh.Patel1.firstname.lastname@example.org))