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Gold prices increased on Friday, poised for their biggest weekly percentage gain in almost two years, lifted by a weaker U.S. dollar and as investors looked to hedge against inflation.

Spot gold climbed 0.4 percent to $1,358.74 per ounce, after touching a three-week high of $1,359.47. The metal is up over three percent this week, set for its best weekly performance since the week ended April 29, 2016.

U.S. gold futures were 0.5 percent higher at $1,361.60 per ounce.

Spot gold has gained four percent from a one-month low of $1,306.81 last week, mostly on a softer dollar.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, dropped 0.29 percent to 821.30 tonnes on Thursday from Wednesday.

Among other precious metals, spot silver increased 0.2 percent to $16.91.

Platinum was up 0.6 percent at $1,006.90, after reaching its highest since Feb. 1 at $1,007.40.

Palladium rose 0.2 percent at $1,020. The metal has gained 4.5 percent this week, its best since week-ended Oct. 13.

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Oil markets rallied on Monday on the back of a fall in the number of U.S. rigs and as the U.S. economy continued to post solid job gains, which the industry hopes will drive increased fuel demand.

U.S. WTI crude futures stood at $62.10 per barrel, 6 cents or 0.1 percent higher. Brent crude futures stood at $65.58 per barrel, 9 cents or 0.1 percent higher from their last close.

The U.S. economy reported the biggest job growth in over one-and-a-half years in February, with non-farm payrolls surging by 313, 000 jobs in the previous month, according to the Labor Department.

In oil markets, U.S. energy firms in the previous week reduced the number of oil rigs for the first time in almost two months, with drillers reducing four rigs to 796, according to Baker Hughes energy services firm on Friday.

Despite the lower rig count, which is an early indicator of future production, activity continues to be much higher than the same period a year ago, when just 617 rigs were active and majority of analysts anticipate U.S. crude oil production to increase further.

The dollar fell against the yen on Monday, as traders worried that a suspected cronyism scandal in Japan involving the sale of state-owned land could dampen investors' risk appetites.

The name of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife was removed from documents regarding the suspected cronyism scandal, media said, as pressure mounted on the premier and his ally Finance Minister Taro Aso over a possible cover-up.

Market participants said the political developments in Japan helped temper gains in Japanese equities and lent some support to the yen, which tends to rise in times of economic uncertainty.

The dollar slipped 0.2 percent to 106.62 yen, retreating from a one-week high of 107.05 yen set on Friday following news of higher-than-expected U.S. jobs growth in February.

The euro climbed 0.1 percent to $1.2322, but was still some ways below a near three-week high of $1.2447 set on Wednesday.

The common currency has retreated after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Thursday that regional inflation remained subdued and rising protectionism was a risk.

Gold prices were steady on Monday as the U.S. dollar slipped, with the latest U.S. jobs report easing fears of inflation and quicker pace of U.S. rate hikes.

Spot gold was flat at $1,323.07 per ounce.

U.S. gold futures for April delivery were little changed at $1,323.70 per ounce.

The dollar index against a basket of currencies fell 0.1 percent to 90.038.

Inflation worries faded after U.S. data on Friday showed nonfarm payrolls jumped by 313,000 jobs last month, but annual growth in average hourly earnings slowed to 2.6 percent after a spike in January.

Money market traders stuck to bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates three times this year, with only around a one-in-four chance seen for a fourth rate hike in


Inflation concerns generally boost gold, which is seen as a safe-haven against rising prices. Expectations the Fed could hike interest rates to fight inflation make gold less attractive because it is not interest-yielding.

Speculators increased their net long position in gold by 4,178 contracts to 161,812 contracts, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining Ltd said its fiscal 2018 guidance would be adversely affected by the closure of its flagship mine following damages to a tailings dam wall.

Among other precious metals, silver dropped 0.1 percent to $16.58 per ounce. Palladium was down 0.1 percent at $994.72 per ounce, while platinum was flat at $964.50 per ounce.