BENGALURU, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Gold traded firm near a five-month peak hit early on Monday, supported by a disappointing U.S. jobs data that fuelled speculation that the Federal Reserve may stop raising interest rates sooner than expected.

* Spot gold was steady at $1,247.80 per ounce, as of 0103 GMT, after hitting its highest since July 11 at $1,250.55 earlier in the session.

* U.S. gold futures were up 0.2 percent at $1,254.6 per ounce.

* The dollar slipped against the yen and the euro, while stocks extended their slump as worries over U.S.-China trade tensions battered investor sentiment.

* Nonfarm payrolls increased by 155,000 jobs in November, while economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 200,000 jobs.

* The U.S. central bank is flagging a turning point in monetary policy, as a Fed policymaker on Friday backed interest rate hikes in the “near term” but nodded to increasingly less certainty ahead.

* U.S.-China trade negotiations need to reach a successful end by March 1 or new tariffs will be imposed, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Sunday, clarifying there is a “hard deadline” after a week of seeming confusion among President Donald Trump and his advisers.

* China reported far weaker-than-expected November exports and imports, showing slower global and domestic demand and raising the possibility authorities will take more measures to keep the country’s growth rate from slipping too much.

* Theresa May will push ahead with a crucial vote on her European Union exit deal, her Brexit minister said on Sunday, as senior lawmakers in her own party piled pressure on the British prime minister to go back to Brussels and seek a better offer.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.20 percent to 759.73 tonnes on Friday.

* Gold was sold at a discount last week in India for the first time in a month as a rebound in local prices prompted jewellers to postpone purchases, while demand improved in top consumer China due to seasonal buying.

* Production at Randgold’s Loulo gold mine in Mali has been on hold since Wednesday due to a dispute over pay, the head of the industry and mines union SECNAMI told Reuters.

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