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Gold holds steady as virus fears offset gains in equities

Nakul Iyer
·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Gold bars and coins are stacked in the safe deposit boxes room of the Pro Aurum gold house in Munich

By Nakul Iyer

(Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed on Friday as worries over an accelerating number of coronavirus cases countered a fillip to risk sentiment from positive U.S. and Chinese economic data.

Spot gold <XAU=> was mostly unchanged at $1,775.06 per ounce by 1:40 p.m EDT (1740 GMT). Most U.S. markets are closed on Friday ahead of Independence Day on July 4.

U.S. gold futures <GCv1> edged down 0.2% to $1,787.30 per ounce.

"Central bank easing policies and uncertainty surrounding the second wave (of COVID-19) are sustaining gold prices," Bank of China International analyst Xiao Fu said, adding that despite a positive U.S. jobs report, more data was needed to suggest the economy was on a strong footing.

Gold will likely trade in a tight range, but remains well supported above $1,750 an ounce, Xiao Fu said.

Cases of coronavirus continued to increase globally, with more than 10.94 million people infected, while the United States reported a new daily global record number of cases.

"Geopolitical considerations are also to the fore," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA. "With a holiday in the United States, and the weekend upon us, some haven-directed buying of gold is definitely evident."

Escalating political tensions, more than 75 members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to make a formal determination on whether China's treatment of Muslim Uighurs and other groups constituted an atrocity.

Indicative of sentiment, holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust <GLD>, rose 0.8% to 1,191.47 tonnes on Thursday. [GOL/ETF]

But stemming gains in bullion, data showing a recovery in China's services sector and a record addition of jobs to the U.S. economy in June helped world shares hover near a four-month high.[MKTS/GLOB]

Palladium <XPD=> rose 0.4% to $1,909.27 per ounce, while platinum <XPT=> climbed 0.8% to $809 per ounce, set for its first weekly gain in six.

Silver <XAG=> gained 1% to $18.07 per ounce, heading for its fourth consecutive weekly gain.

(Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans and Alistair Bell)