June 26, 2020 / 4:22 AM / 8 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold on course for third weekly gain as coronavirus cases spike

    * Gold holds ground despite higher equities, steady dollar
    * SPDR Gold ETF holdings at over 7-year high
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
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tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    By Nakul Iyer
    June 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices steadied on Friday en route
to a third straight weekly gain as a spike in coronavirus cases
dashed hopes of a quick economic recovery.
    Spot gold        was little changed at $1,761.17 per ounce
by 1219 GMT, having soared to its highest since Oct. 2012 at
$1,779.06 on Wednesday, putting it on course for a 1.1% gain for
the week.
    U.S. gold futures         were up 0.1% at $1,772.70 per
ounce.
    "Gold is finding tailwind from concerns about a second wave
of infections as some U.S. states see the number of new cases
soar," Commerzbank analysts said in a note.
    "The expansion of central bank liquidity and public debt
resulting from this continues to argue for robust demand for
gold as a safe haven and store of value," they added. 
    Coronavirus cases have been rising across the United States,
while over 9.51 million people have been infected globally,
according to a Reuters tally.             
    Increased central bank and government stimulus measures
globally to cushion economies from the blow of the COVID-19
pandemic have helped gold prices gain 16% this year.
     "If central banks continue to print money with quantitative
easing and easing monetary policy, gold can continue to rally,"
ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said.
    Technically, gold is in a consolidation phase and could see
further rallies if investors become more risk averse, he added.
    Bullion is widely seen as a hedge against inflation and
currency debasement.
    The metal held its ground despite a steady dollar and an
uptick in European shares.                   
    Reflecting positive sentiment, holdings of the SPDR Gold
Trust       exchange-traded fund held near a more than
seven-year peak.          
    Palladium        rose 0.2% to $1,845.19 per ounce, platinum
       gained 0.5% to $807.42 per ounce and silver        fell
0.2% to $17.84 per ounce.

 (Reporting by Nakul Iyer and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru;
Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Jan Harvey)
  
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