Gold set for best quarter in 4 years on virus fears

Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,770.77 per ounce by 0052 GMT

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. An employee holds a 1kg gold bar at AGR (African Gold Refinery) in Entebbe, Uganda, October 4, 2018.

Image used for illustrative purpose. An employee holds a 1kg gold bar at AGR (African Gold Refinery) in Entebbe, Uganda, October 4, 2018.

REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Gold prices held steady on Tuesday and were heading for their biggest quarterly rise in more than four years as fears over rising coronavirus cases around the world boosted demand for the safe-haven metal.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,770.77 per ounce by 0052 GMT, just $8.29 shy of a near eight-year high of $1,779.06, hit last week.

* Bullion, with more than 12% gains this quarter, is on track for its best quarter since end-March 2016. Gold was also headed for its third straight monthly gain.

* U.S. gold futures GCv1 were flat at $1,781.20.

* Confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide exceeded 10 million and deaths surpassed 500,000 over the weekend. 

* Texas, Florida and California are among U.S. states to reverse reopenings and reclose businesses such as bars to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

* U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Monday the outlook for the world's biggest economy is "extraordinarily uncertain" and will depend both on containing the coronavirus and on government efforts to support the recovery. 

* Gold is largely considered as a safe investment during times of political and financial uncertainty.

* Meanwhile, an upbeat U.S. data spurred fresh optimism on the world's largest economy and lifted investor sentiment towards riskier assets. 

* In Asia, China's factory activity expanded at a faster pace in June, beating expectations, while activity in the country's services sector expanded at its fastest pace in seven months, official data showed . 

* Palladium eased 0.1% to $1,902.68 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.1% to $806.22 and silver lost 0.3% at $17.81.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0600 UK GDP QQ, YY Q1 1400 US Consumer Confidence June

(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber) ((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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