June 19, 2020 / 6:14 AM / 22 days ago

Gold rises as fears over new coronavirus cases lend support

(Reuters) - Gold gained on Friday as a rise in coronavirus cases raised concerns over a second wave which could compel governments to implement another lockdown.

FILE PHOTO: A marked ingot of 99.99 percent pure gold is placed in a cart at a plant owned by Krastsvetmet, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of non-ferrous metals, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/File Photo

Spot gold was up 1.1% at $1,740.96 per ounce by 12:43 p.m. ET (1643 GMT), while U.S. gold futures rose 1.3% to $1,752.80 per ounce.

Spot prices reached their highest since 2012 last month at $1,764.55.

“There are continued upturns in COVID-19 (cases) throughout the South and Southwest of U.S. with uptick in the hospitalization rate. ... That has caused a little bit of concern of another shutdown, which is benefiting gold,” said Jeffrey Sica, founder of Circle Squared Alternative Investments.

More than 8.38 million people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus, with some 400 workers being positively tested at an abattoir in northern Germany, and China reporting 32 new cases of the virus on Friday.

“No matter what the long-term consequences, like inflation, there will be continued stimulus throughout the world and that will keep gold prices supported in the long term,” Sica said.

So far this year, gold prices have risen about 15%, supported by safe-haven demand in the midst of concerns of economic slowdown and unprecedented amounts of government and central bank fiscal and monetary support. 

“Spot gold has yet to close above $1,750, and if and when that happens, we suspect renewed momentum and fresh buying from underinvested hedge funds will propel the price higher towards $1,800,” said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen in a note.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar index was up 0.2%.

Elsewhere, palladium fell 1.0% to $1,905.54 an ounce and was on track for a second consecutive weekly decline.

Platinum gained 1.3% to $814.45 per ounce and was up 1.5% so far for the week.

Silver was up 0.6% at $17.62 and was on track to mark a second week of gains.

Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri and Shreyansi Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis and DIane Craft

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