July 1, 2020 / 2:16 AM / 4 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold firms near 8-year peak as virus fears prompt safe-haven demand

    July 1 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday,
hovering near an eight-year high, as a spike in COVID-19
infections in the United States assuaged hopes of a swift
economic rebound, pushing investors towards the safety of
    * Spot gold        edged up 0.1% at $1,782.21 per ounce by
0115 GMT, after hitting its highest since early October 2012 at
$1,785.46 in the previous session.
    * U.S. gold futures        eased 0.1% to $1,799.30.
    * Fresh U.S. coronavirus cases could more than double to
100,000 per day if the current surge spirals further out of
control, the government's top infectious disease expert warned
on Tuesday.             
    * U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve
Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday pledged to do more for the
U.S. economy as it battles the enormous fallout from the virus
    * Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures
from central banks because it is widely viewed as a hedge
against inflation and currency debasement.
    * Japanese manufacturers' confidence sank in the second
quarter to levels not seen since the 2009 global financial
crisis, underscoring the damage from the pandemic.             
    * Sentiment in global equities was shaken after Beijing
unveiled new national security laws for Hong Kong, indicating a
more authoritarian future, prompting the United States to begin
eliminating the city's special status on Monday.             
    * Asian stocks were set for a bumpy start to the second half
of the year as optimism about a global economic recovery clashed
with indications that the U.S. health crisis may not yet be past
its peak.            
    * Palladium        fell 0.3% to $1,925.05 per ounce, while
platinum        rose 0.7% to $822.50 and silver        gained
0.6% at $18.24.
1345  US       Markit Mfg PMI Final
1400  US       ISM Manufacturing PMI
1800  US       Federal Open Market Committee will release the
minutes of its June 9-10 policy meeting

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
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