June 12, 2020 / 4:22 AM / 2 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold gains as gloomy UK economic data spurs safe-haven demand

    * Gold up more than 2.5% so far this week
    * Platinum set for largest weekly fall since April
    * SPDR Gold holdings rise 0.5% on Thursday
    * For an interactive graphic tracking the global coronavirus
spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser

 (Recasts with updated prices)
    By Harshith Aranya
    June 12 (Reuters) - Gold reversed course to rise on Friday
as dismal economic data from Britain added to concerns of a
second wave of virus infections, boosting safe-haven demand and
setting gold on track for its first weekly rise in four.     
    Spot gold        rose 0.3% to $1,732.08 per ounce, as of
0807 GMT, having earlier fallen as low as 0.3% on a firmer
dollar.       
    Bullion has risen over 2.5% so far this week. U.S. gold
futures        fell 0.1% to $1,738.60.     
    Gold recovered from earlier lows after the UK reported poor
economic data, said Jigar Trivedi, commodities analyst at Anand
Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers in Mumbai.
    Britain's economy shrank by a record 20.4% in April due to
the coronavirus lockdown, the data showed.             
    "An increase in COVID-19 cases has led to rising risk
aversion, leading to a stronger U.S. dollar," said National
Australia Bank economist John Sharma. 
    The stronger greenback has kept gold prices in check,
because it makes assets priced in the dollar more expensive for
holders of other currencies. 
    U.S. stocks fell more than 5% on Thursday, their worst day
since mid-March. Asian equities slumped on Friday on fears of
resurgence in coronavirus cases.                          
    Risk appetites have also been dented by a recent spike in
coronavirus infections in some U.S. states. This partially
reflects increased testing, but some states are also seeing
rising hospitalizations.             
    Earlier this week, U.S. Federal Reserve officials said the
bank's key interest rate would need to hold near zero through at
least 2022.             
    Gold tends to benefit from lower interest rates as it
reduces the opportunity cost of holding bullion.
    Holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded
fund, SPDR Gold Trust      , rose 0.5% to 1,135.05 tonnes on
Thursday.          
    Palladium        rose 0.8% to $1,936.36 per ounce, while
silver        declined 0.5% to $17.61. 
    Platinum        climbed 0.9% to $817.96, but was set for its
largest weekly fall since April.

 (Reporting by Harshith Aranya and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru;
Editing by Rashmi Aich and Tom Hogue)
  
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