Gold holds steady near one-week high on virus woes

Gold holds steady near one-week high on virus woes
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BENGALURU (Aug 17): Gold prices were steady on Tuesday, hovering near an over one-week peak, as support from safe haven demand amid rising Delta variant cases offset pressure from a firmer dollar.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,787.90 per ounce by 0105 GMT, after hitting its highest since Aug. 6 at $1,788.97 on Monday. U.S. gold futures eased 0.1% to $1,788.40.

The U.S. dollar, which is also often seen as the ultimate safe-haven currency, held firm against other rivals.

The number of new COVID-19 cases fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant jumped about 81% over the past 14 days to 1.67 million cases in the United States, according to a Reuters tally.

Investor focus is now on the minutes of Federal Reserve's July meeting due on Wednesday for cues on the central bank's stimulus tapering.

Markets also monitored turmoil in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized the capital.

Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said on Monday that one more month of strong job gains could satisfy the U.S. central bank's requirements for beginning to reduce its monthly asset purchases.

China's factory output and retail sales growth slowed sharply and missed expectations in July, as new COVID-19 outbreaks and floods disrupted business operations, adding to signs the economic recovery is losing momentum.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) said on Monday it will halt deferred transactions of precious metals for some accounts amid increased volatility in global and domestic precious metal prices.

SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.1% to 1,020.63 tonnes on Monday.

Silver rose 0.3% to $23.89 per ounce. Platinum inched up 0.1% to $1,023.52 and palladium was flat at $2,605.92.