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(Reuters) – Gold steadied near a record high on Friday as the dollar regained ground as a hedge against another escalation in U.S.-China tensions, but concerns over a worsening pandemic kept bullion on track for its longest weekly gain in nearly a decade.

FILE PHOTO: Gold bars are stacked in the safe deposit boxes room of the Pro Aurum gold house in Munich, Germany, August 14, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo

Spot gold hit an all-time high of $2,072.50 in early trade and by 0613 GMT it was down 0.1% at $2,062.15. It has added 4.4% so far this week in what would be its ninth straight weekly gain. U.S. gold futures rose 0.1% to $2,072.

Silver too gave up earlier gains and was down 0.7% at $28.75, but has gained nearly 18% so far this week.

“It’s difficult to hold anything but a constructive view (on gold),” said ING analyst Warren Patterson. “Whilst the pace of the rally may slow, there certainly does seem to further upside in the near term, and for the remainder of the year.”

Limiting gold’s advance, the dollar rose 0.3% against rivals as President Donald Trump’s decision to ban U.S. transactions with two popular Chinese apps weighed on risk sentiment.

The U.S. currency has in many instances been the preferred refuge during flare-ups between Washington and Beijing.

Gold, meanwhile, has climbed more than 35% so far this year as investors remained wary of a U.S. economic recovery as COVID-19 cases rise.

Gold is likely to hover around $2,020-2,080 an ounce in the near term, with key focus on whether there is any progress on COVID-19 vaccines, said National Australia Bank economist John Sharma.

Investors await closely-watched U.S. employment data, due at 1230 GMT, which is expected to show a payroll increase of 1.58 million in July, compared to 4.8 million in the previous month.

“A below consensus number could provide another boost for gold,” ING’s Patterson said.

Elsewhere, platinum dropped 2.5% to $972.74 an ounce and palladium fell 0.6% to $2,208.68.

Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Arun Koyyur

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