PRECIOUS-Gold poised for best quarter in 4 years as virus fears persist

    * Gold on track for third straight monthly gain
    * Equities see positives in economic data
    * Fed Chair says U.S. economic outlook "extraordinarily

 (Updates prices)
    By Brijesh Patel
    June 30 (Reuters) - Gold held close to a near eight-year
peak on Tuesday, en route to its best quarter in more than four
years, as worries over rising cases of the novel coronavirus and
its economic fallout boosted safe-haven demand.
    Spot gold        was steady at $1,772.14 per ounce by 0703
GMT, just $6.92 shy of a near eight-year high of $1,779.06 hit
last week. U.S. gold futures        rose 0.3% to $1,787.30.
    Bullion, with quarterly gains of more than 12%, is on track
for its best quarter since end-March 2016, and is also headed
for a third straight monthly gain.
    "Gold's main supports right now are negative real interest
rates across the U.S. yield curve, and risk event hedging. In
that, you can lump U.S. COVID-19 situation, and U.S.-China
relations," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
    A spike in COVID-19 cases in recent days has pushed some
U.S. states to reverse re-openings and close businesses such as
bars again to curtail its spread.                          
    U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the outlook
for the world's biggest economy is "extraordinarily uncertain"
and will depend both on containing the disease and on the
government's efforts to support the recovery.             
    Central banks worldwide have adopted aggressive stimulus
measures and kept interest rates low, helping the non-yielding
asset surge more than 16% this year.
    Capping gold's advance were better-than-expected economic
readings out of the U.S. and China, which lifted investors'
appetite for riskier assets.            
    "The fact gold prices remain fairly constructive around
risk-on is a bullish sign in its own right," said Stephen Innes,
chief market strategist at financial services firm AxiCorp, in a
    Elsewhere, palladium        gained 0.5% to $1,912.32 per
ounce, platinum        rose 0.8% to $811.78 and silver       
edged 0.1% higher to $17.87.

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; editing by