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Gold Back Above $1,580, Winning Choppy Week

By Barani Krishnan – Confusion over China’s accounting of the Covid-19 helped gold post its seventh weekly gain in eight and return to the $1,580 perch critical to those long the yellow metal.

But guessing the market’s near-term direction remains difficult for investors due to the sheer uncertainty of the epidemic and alternative safe-haven choice offered by the dollar.

Gold futures for April delivery on New York’s COMEX settled Friday’s trade up $7.60, or nearly 1%, at $1586.40 per ounce. It also gained 1% on the week.

Spot gold, which tracks live trades in bullion was up $6.29, or 0.4%, at $1,582.38 by 3:30 PM ET (20:30 GMT).

“The dollar index and headlines on U.S. politics, interest-rate changes and the stock market have added to the coronavirus news, resulting in gold’s see-saw this week,” said George Gero, precious-metals analyst at RBC Wealth Management in New York. “But don’t count out gold as it’s serving well as a hedge to the Covid-19 despite the dollar’s strength.”

The dollar index, which pits the greenback against a basket of six currencies, showed a reading of 99, up 0.4% on the week.

Confusion reigned over the spread of Covid-19 after Chinese authorities took over 100 presumed victims off the official death roll on Friday, saying they had double-counted.

The overall death toll still rose by over 100 to 1,383, while officially confirmed cases in China rose by some 5,000 to over 64,000. That's a big drop from the 15,000 increase reported on Thursday, which was due to changes in China's methodology for classifying confirmed cases.

Also on Friday, China’s National Health Commission said 1,716 health workers had contracted the virus, and six of them had died – the first time it had broken out such numbers.

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