July 17, 2020 / 10:02 AM / 20 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold eyes sixth weekly gain as coronavirus cases surge

* 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 graphic, updates prices)

By Eileen Soreng

July 17 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Friday and was headed for its sixth consecutive weekly gain as surging coronavirus cases fuelled demand for safe havens.

Spot gold had climbed 0.5% to $1,805.43 per ounce by 1145 GMT. U.S. gold futures were up 0.4% at $1,806.80.

The United States reported over 77,000 new cases new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, while global cases crossed 13.84 million.

The surge prompted some U.S. states to partially shut again, raising fears the economy and labour market will continue to struggle.

“As long we don’t have a vaccine, we will continue to have these problems... We could see a push towards $2,000 before the end of this year,” said Afshin Nabavi, senior vice president at precious metals trader MKS SA.

Tensions between the United States and China are also prompting people to invest more in gold rather than stocks, Nabavi said.

Adding to the recent rise in U.S.-Sino friction, the Trump administration was considering banning travel to the United States by all members of the Chinese Communist Party, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday, an idea that China dismissed as absurd.

New York Federal Reserve President John Williams said it could take a few years for the U.S. economy to recover, and it was not yet the time to think about raising interest rates.

Investors also eyed a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels about a proposed stimulus to kick-start their COVID-hit economies. European Central Bank Vice-President Luis de Guindos said he expected them to reach an agreement before the end of July.

“The bulls’ case for gold remains intact with real rates low and suppressed which would be able to sustain the high price of gold,” Phillip Futures said in a note.

Also supporting bullion, the dollar eased 0.3% against its rivals.

Palladium rose 0.2% to $2,000.26 per ounce, while platinum was up 0.1% to $824.98.

Silver inched 0.1% higher to $19.11, and was headed for a sixth straight weekly rise.

Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru, additional reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan; Editing by Toby Chopra

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