Gold ticks higher on Delta worries, eyes weekly fall again

Gold ticks higher on Delta worries, eyes weekly fall again
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BENGALURU (Aug 13): Gold prices edged higher on Friday, underpinned by concerns over the rapid spread of the Delta coronavirus variant, although a resilient US dollar capped gains and kept bullion on track for its second straight weekly decline.

Spot gold rose 0.2% to US$1,755.30 per ounce by 0339 GMT. It is down 0.4% so far for the week.

US gold futures were up 0.3% at US$1,756.30.

"The ongoing Covid disruption means it is more likely that central banks globally will continue to provide stimulus, which ultimately feeds back into inflation and higher gold prices in the long term," said Michael Langford, director at corporate advisory AirGuide.

"In the short-term, expect gold to hold between US$1,750-US$1,800."

Asian markets were subdued on Friday, pressured by rising Delta variant cases in several countries in the region.

Meanwhile, the US dollar held firm near four-month highs, after data showed US producer prices posted their largest annual increase in more than a decade.

The print came on the heels of tame US consumer price data, which helped gold rise 1.3% on Wednesday, but has sent investors looking for more hints from the Federal Reserve on its monetary policy plans.

Gold is seen as a hedge against inflation, but a Fed rate hike will increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion while boosting the US dollar.

"It's going to be very difficult for gold to overcome US$1,800 again," said DailyFX currency strategist Ilya Spivak.

"The comments from Fed officials have been steering markets towards expecting that when we get to Jackson Hole later this month, we're probably looking to get guidance on tapering strategy and a formal announcement."

Silver rose 0.4% to US$23.25 per ounce, but was down over 4% for the week.

Platinum eased 0.1% to US$1,016.80, however it was headed for its best weekly performance since June.

Palladium was flat at US$2,624.20.