June 19, 2020 / 3:02 PM / 16 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rises as fears over new coronavirus cases lend support

    * Palladium heads for second straight weekly decline
    * Silver on track for second weekly gain

 (Updates prices)
    By Diptendu Lahiri
    June 19 (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. 
    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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