Gold holds steady as virus fears offset gains in equities

Silver on track for fourth straight weekly gain

  
Image used for illustrative purposes. An employee sorts gold bars in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, December 15, 2017.

Image used for illustrative purposes. An employee sorts gold bars in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, December 15, 2017.

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

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 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 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. 

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.

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

Silver 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) ((nakul.iyer@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 80 6749 0417; Reuters Messaging: nakul.iyer.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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