June 22, 2020 / 3:06 PM / 11 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold jumps, hits highest in more than a month on uptick in pandemic

    * SPDR Gold Trust holdings rose 2% on Friday
    * Silver hits more than one-week high of $18.01/oz

 (Updates prices)
    By Diptendu Lahiri
    June 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices climbed 1% on Monday to hit
the highest level in more than a month, as investors took refuge
in the safe-haven metal after an uptick in coronavirus cases
dampened hopes for a quick economic recovery. 
    Spot gold        was up 0.7% to $1,755.58 per ounce at 02:41
p.m. ET (1841 GMT). The session high was 1,762.84, the highest
since May 18. 
    Prices were $8.97 shy of a 7-1/2 year high of $1,764.55, hit
last month.
    U.S. gold futures        settled 0.8% higher at $1,766.40.
    "There is some flight to safety in gold," said Bob
Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
     The rise in coronavirus cases globally has led gold to
break the $1,750 level, he said. "If we close above $1,765
today, the $1,800 level is not very far." 
    Gold, a safe haven during times of economic uncertainty, got
a boost after the World Health Organization on Sunday reported a
record jump in global infections, with the biggest increases in
North and South America.              
    Two U.S. Federal Reserve officials on Friday warned the
unemployment rate could rise again if the pandemic is not
brought under control.              
    Central banks across the globe have taken aggressive
stimulus measures and kept interest rates low during the crisis.
    "There seems to be some increase in inflation expectations
which is pushing real rates lower and giving some support to the
gold price," said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.             
    Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding
non-yielding bullion. 
    The dollar index        was down 0.5% at 97.15, making gold
cheaper for holders of other currencies.
    Meanwhile, SPDR Gold Trust holdings on Friday rose 2% to
1,159.31 tonnes, the highest level since April 2013.           
    Silver        rose nearly 1% to $17.77 per ounce, after
hitting a more than one-week high at $18.01. Palladium       
was up 1.1% at $1,932.28 , while platinum        gained rose
2.3% to $823.65, hitting more than a week high at $833.67.

 (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru;
Editing by David Gregorio, Andrea Ricci and Sonya Hepinstall)
  
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