Gold prices edged higher on Tuesday, drawing some support from a subdued dollar as investors assessed the severity of the Omicron coronavirus variant's impact on the global economy.
Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,787.70 per ounce by 0415 GMT. U.S. gold futures increased 0.3% to $1,790.40.
The dollar index edged 0.1% lower, reducing the metal's cost to buyers holding other currencies.
A growing number of countries have imposed travel restrictions to limit the spread of the newly discovered COVID-19 variant, which the World Health Organization said on Monday carried a very high risk of infection surges.
"This is the kind of news that should have given a bigger lift to gold. The fact that it hasn't suggests there's a lot of underlying weakness in gold," said DailyFX currency strategist Ilya Spivak, adding negative inflation-adjusted Treasury yields were keeping gold afloat.
The yield on 10-year Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) has recovered from a record low hit earlier in the month. However, it is still in negative territory, at -1.05% on Tuesday, keeping gold's opportunity cost low.
Investors now await Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's congressional testimony later this week after his warning on Monday that the new COVID-19 strain muddied the central bank's inflation outlook and prices could continue to rise for longer than earlier thought.
Reduced stimulus and interest rate hikes to curb inflation tend to push government bond yields up, raising the opportunity cost of gold, which pays no interest.
"If the Fed focuses more on growth and less on inflation, that should lift gold. But if Friday's payrolls data shows softer hiring and strong wages, that could cloud the Fed's policy outlook and that uncertainty could ultimately strengthen the dollar at gold's expense," Spivak said.
Spot silver was steady at $22.90 per ounce. Platinum advanced 0.5% to $967.84 and palladium gained 0.3% to $1,800.26.
(Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Subhranshu Sahu) ((email@example.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 80 6749 0417; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))