July 17, 2020 / 3:47 PM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold climbs as growth risks remain, eyes 6th weekly gain

* Gold has gained 0.6% so far this week

* Silver heads for sixth straight weekly gain

* EU leaders meeting in Brussels on investors’ radar

* Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser (Adds comments, updates prices)

By Nakul Iyer

July 17 (Reuters) - Gold jumped on Friday, poised for its sixth consecutive weekly gain, as a record-breaking rise in coronavirus infections in the United States fueled uncertainly about an economic recovery, while a weaker greenback also added support.

Spot gold rose 0.7% to $1,808.85 per ounce at 1:47 p.m. EDT (1747 GMT) and has gained 0.6% so far this week. U.S. gold futures settled up 0.5% at $1,810 per ounce.

“Negative real interest rates, ballooning central bank balance sheets, weaker U.S. dollar and still-rising COVID-19 cases are enhancing the safe-haven appeal of the yellow metal,” said ANZ commodity strategist Soni Kumari.

“Now, escalating tension between the U.S. and China is another tailwind for the market.”

The United States was considering banning travel to the country by all members of the Chinese Communist Party, a person familiar with the matter said.

The United States shattered its daily record for coronavirus infections, prompting some states to impose partial lockdowns, while the number of global cases crossed 13.89 million.

The dollar index eased 0.4% against its rivals.

A sharp rise in stimulus packages globally to shield economies from the fallout of the coronavirus has driven safe-haven gold 19.3% higher so far this year.

“Despite stimulus measures moderating of late, central banks are keen to reassure markets that they have not reached the bottom of their pockets should further stimulus be needed,” said Rory Townsend, WoodMac’s head of gold research.

The sheer scale of the stimulus so far will be sufficient to keep gold prices well supported, Townsend added.

U.S. lawmakers return to Washington on Monday to discuss potential new coronavirus aid programs, while investors also eyed a meeting of EU leaders about a proposed stimulus to kick-start their COVID-hit economies.

Elsewhere, palladium jumped 1% to $2,015.42 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.9% to $831.51 per ounce.

Silver rose 0.9% to $19.34 per ounce and was headed for a sixth straight weekly rise.

Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Asha Sistla and K. Sathya Narayanan; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Chizu Nomiyama

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