June 18, 2020 / 2:35 PM / 17 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips as U.S. jobless claims fall, China claims outbreak contained

    * U.S. jobless claims drop for 11th straight week
    * Gold likely to hold $1,700-$1,750 over near term -analyst

 (Updates prices)
    By Diptendu Lahiri
    June 18 (Reuters) - Gold eased on Thursday after data showed
lower jobless claims in the United States and on reports Beijing
was bringing its latest coronavirus outbreak under control, but
mounting infections globally limited losses for the safe-haven
metal.
    Spot gold        fell nearly 0.1% to $1,724.99 per ounce by
2:57 p.m. (1857 GMT). U.S. gold futures         settled down
0.3% at $1,731.10.
    "Gold is giving up earlier gains due to some positive
reports from Beijing that they have contained the outbreak,"
said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at broker OANDA.
    "The jobless claims data is getting better. The economic
situation might be getting better at last."
    Initial claims for state unemployment benefits in the United
States dropped for the 11th straight week, pushing claims
further away from a record 6.867 million in late March. 
    However, the pace of U.S. labor market recovery appeared to
have stalled.              
    In China, fears over a 'second wave' of the pandemic eased
somewhat, as a medical expert said Beijing has brought its
latest outbreak under control.             
    Still, mounting infections worldwide continued to inspire
safe-haven buying of gold, driving the precious metal close to a
one-week high early in the session. Safe-haven appeal also
limited gold's decline despite competition from other safe
havens such as the U.S. dollar.                                
    "Ongoing risks to the global economic recovery, especially
with regards to recent spikes in virus cases in both the U.S.
and China continue to underpin (gold's) price action. However, a
lack of physical demand is likely to see gold hold $1,700-$1,750
over the near term," MKS PAMP said in a note.
    Elsewhere, palladium        0.2% to $1,917.03 per ounce,
while platinum        slid 1.5% to $806.56 . 
    Silver        was down nearly 1% at $17.41.

 (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru;
editing by David Gregorio and Chizu Nomiyama)
  
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