Gold firms above $1,800/oz on virus, subdued dollar

Physical gold sold at a premium in India last week for the first time this year

  
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 prices firmed above the key $1,800 an ounce level on Monday, supported by uncertainty over the impact of surging coronavirus cases and a subdued dollar.

Spot gold was up 0.6% to $1,808.25 per ounce at 0933 GMT. U.S. gold futures were up 0.6% at $1,813.30.

"The uncertainty related to the continued increase in the virus count is adding some underlying support to the market .... There's absolutely no reason not to hold on to long positions for at least as long as we stay above the $1,765 area," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.

The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 230,370 in 24 hours. The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa.

However, the emergence of a viable vaccine to treat the virus could prompt profit-taking in gold, Hansen added.

The dollar index was muted, after a third consecutive weekly decline.

Safe-haven gold's rise also came despite gains in European shares.

"Gold price is consolidating above $1,800 with bullion holding onto this significant threshold despite stocks in green. This confirms investors' huge appetite for the yellow metal in this uncertain phase on markets," ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said in a note.

Adding to the global uncertainties driving inflows into safe haven assets, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was not currently thinking about negotiating a "Phase 2" trade deal with China.

Indicative of investor sentiment, speculators increased their bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to July 7, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.

Elsewhere, silver climbed 2.2% to $19.08 per ounce, having hit a high since Sept. 5 at $19.16.

Palladium gained 0.7% to $1,983.97 per ounce; platinum was up 2.6% at $835.69.

(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter) ((eileen.soreng@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6131; Reuters Messaging: eileen.soreng.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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