PRECIOUS-Gold set for fifth weekly gain as virus fears support safe havens

(Updates prices)

* 10-year U.S. Treasuries drop to over 2-month low

* GRAPHIC-2020 asset returns:

* Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open in an external browser

July 10 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Friday and held above the key $1,800 level, en route to a fifth straight weekly gain as a jump in U.S. COVID-19 infections underpinned demand for safe-haven assets.

Spot gold prices rose 0.2% to $1,805.94 per ounce by 1216 GMT, and were up about 1.8% for the week, having soared to their highest since Sept. 2011 at $1,817.71 on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures were up 0.4% at $1,811.70 per ounce.

“The higher COVID numbers in the U.S. and the implications this might have on the economic recovery has been influencing price action,” said Cameron Alexander, an analyst at Refinitiv-owned metals consultancy GFMS.

Gold exchange-traded fund (ETF) inflows continue to rise, indicating investors are hedging against further pullbacks in equities, he said.

The United States on Wednesday reported the largest one-day increase in coronavirus cases by any country since the start of the pandemic, while cases have jumped in major cities such as Melbourne, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

The spike in cases soured risk sentiment, sending world stocks and oil prices down with concerns over fresh lockdowns in the United States alarming investors.

Adding to the support, 10-year U.S. Treasuries dropped to their lowest since late April.

“Gold could even set a new record high this year if another bolt of risk aversion courses through the markets, especially if the green shoots of the global economic recovery are snuffed out by another round of lockdowns across major economies,” said FXTM market analyst Han Tan in a note.

Data showed U.S. shoppers were staying out of stores in areas where cases are rising the most, dampening hopes of a quick recovery in the world’s biggest economy.

However, gold’s longer-term technical patterns suggest a slowing in the momentum, with positioning pointing to a market very long on gold and implying a short-term pullback is possible, IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda said.

Palladium fell 0.3% to $1,937.82 per ounce, platinum slipped 0.2%, to $831.59 per ounce, and silver was little changed at $18.66 per ounce. (Reporting by Nakul Iyer; Additional reporting by Harshith Aranya in Bengaluru; Editing by David Clarke and Susan Fenton)