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Gold Prices Gain; Powell Delivers Bullish Assessment of U.S. Economy - Gold prices gained while the dollar was flat on Friday in Asia after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell delivered a bullish assessment of the U.S. economy on Thursday.

“Our economy is currently performing very well overall, with strong job creation and gradually rising wages,’’ said Powell in his final scheduled public remarks before the central bank goes into a blackout period before its Dec. 18-19 policy meeting. “In fact, by many national-level measures, our labour market is very strong.’’

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the Fed could tighten monetary policy at a slower pace than expected.

Benchmark COMEX gold futures for February settled up $1.60 at 1,245.20 per troy ounce as the flight to safety kept the yellow metal's new-found support above $1,240 intact.

In other news, gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) registered inflows in all the world's major regions in November, as volatile stock markets fueled flight-to-safety buying, the World Gold Council said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies last traded at 96.787 by 11:54 PM ET (04:54 GMT), up 0.02%. November U.S. non-farm payrolls, unemployment and wage data are due to be released later on Friday.

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