Gold steadies in tight range as virus fears offset solid U.S. jobs data

Spot gold was little changed at $1,774.18 per ounce

  
Gold bars are seen in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, December 15, 2017. Image used for illustrative purposes.

Gold bars are seen in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, December 15, 2017. Image used for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Gold was flat, trading in a narrow $4 range on Friday, as worries over surging coronavirus cases globally and lingering trade tensions between the United States and China overshadowed strong U.S. jobs data.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,774.18 per ounce by 0456 GMT. U.S. markets are closed on Friday for observing Independence Day on July 4.

U.S. gold futures eased 0.2% to $1,786.50.

"Nagging doubts appear to remain in investors' minds about the explosion of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. sunbelt states and its possible negative effect on the recovery going forward," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.

The United States reported more than 55,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a new daily global record for the pandemic, while over 10.89 million people have been infected worldwide.

"Geopolitical considerations are also to the fore... with a holiday in the U.S., and the weekend upon us, some haven-directed buying of gold is definitely evident," Halley added.

Markets also kept a wary eye on China's trade relations with the United States.

More than 75 members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to take make a formal determination on whether China's treatment of Muslim Uighurs and other groups constitutes an atrocity.

Indicative of sentiment, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust GLD , rose 0.8% to 1,191.47 tonnes on Thursday.

Stemming bullion's advance, better-than-expected U.S. jobs reports lifted sentiment in wider financial markets.

The U.S. economy created jobs at a record clip in June, but 31.5 million Americans were collecting unemployment checks in the middle of the month.

Palladium fell 0.4% to $1,894.81 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.6% to $807.68, set for its first weekly gain in six.

Silver gained 0.6% to $18, heading for its fourth consecutive weekly gain.

(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Devika Syamnath) ((Brijesh.Patel1@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 651 848 5832, Outside U.S. +91 8067493865; Reuters Messaging: Brijesh.Patel1.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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