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PRECIOUS-Gold rush intact as prices flirt with record levels

    * Gold up 34% so far this year
    * Silver tops more than 7-year peak
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
open
tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser

 (Recasts, adds comments, and updates prices)
    By Brijesh Patel
    Aug 6 (Reuters) - Gold prices raced towards a record high on
Thursday as dismal U.S. jobs data hammered the dollar and
intensified worries about a recovery in the pandemic-ravaged
global economy.
    Spot gold        was just a hair's breadth away from its
all-time high touched in the previous session, up 0.6% at
$2,051.44 per ounce by 0645 GMT. U.S. gold futures         rose
0.8% to $2,064.60.    
    "There are real concerns about whether the global economic
recovery will continue with infection cases continuing to rise
in the U.S.," said Harshal Barot, research consultant for South
Asia at Metals Focus.
    "Those concerns have now intensified, raising doubts that
whatever recovery we had in the last couple of months would not
last, leading to safe-haven buying. Broadly, inflation
expectations have also started to pick up slightly."
    Three Federal Reserve policymakers warned the pandemic would
continue to hurt the U.S. economy, with local cases topping 4.7
million.                          
    The sombre outlook sent the dollar index        to a more
than two-year low, with data on Wednesday showing U.S. private
payrolls growth slowed sharply last month.            
    "The only real cure to claw back some economic dignity is
that global interest rates remain low for as far as the eye can
see and even redoubled amounts government stimulus," Stephen
Innes, chief market strategist at financial services firm
AxiCorp, said in a note.             
    Gold has rallied over 34% this year as it's considered an
asset that should hold its value while the pandemic and central
bank money printing erode the value of others.             
    Falling real yields have also made the non-interest bearing
metal an attractive investment, analysts said.      
    However, technical indicators point to signs of exhaustion,
said DailyFx currency strategist Ilya Spivak, adding "we might
get a pause relatively soon, at least to consolidate."
    Silver        jumped 2.5% to $27.69 per ounce after hitting
its highest since April 2013. 
    Platinum        rose 0.7% to $973.52 and palladium       
edged up 0.1% to $2,183.52.

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu
Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  
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