June 22, 2020 / 10:34 AM / 12 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold hits highest in over a month as rise in virus cases bolsters appeal

    * SPDR Gold Trust holdings rose 2% on Friday
    * Specs raise gold bullish positions in week to June 16-CFTC
    * Silver hits more than one-week high of $17.97/oz

 (Updates prices)
    By Eileen Soreng
    June 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices hit their highest level in
more than a month on Monday as a resurgence of coronavirus
infections in some countries raised doubts about a swift global
economic recovery.
    Spot gold        was up 0.3% at $1,748.05 per ounce by 1151
GMT, after rising to as high as $1758.35 earlier in the session,
its highest level since May 18.
    U.S. gold futures        was also 0.3% higher, at $1,758.10.
    Spot prices are now $17 shy of a 7-1/2 year high of
$1,764.55, hit last month.
    Gold is seen as a safe haven during times of economic
turmoil and benefited as global investors were unnerved after
the World Health Organization reported a record jump in global
infections of the coronavirus on Sunday, with the biggest
increases seen in North and South America.              
    Two U.S. Federal Reserve officials on Friday warned the
unemployment rate could rise again if the disease is not brought
under control.              
    As well as concerns about the health of the global economy,
there are also worries about rising inflation, said UBS analyst
Giovanni Staunovo.
    "There seems to be some increase in inflation expectations
which is pushing real rates lower and giving some support to the
gold price," Staunovo said.            
    The rise in coronavirus cases also pressured European
shares.      
    Against a basket of currencies, the dollar index        was
down 0.2%, making gold cheaper for holders of other currencies.
      
    Gold prices have risen 15% this year amid fears of a
coronavirus-induced economic slowdown and unprecedented stimulus
measures from governments and central banks globally. 
    "Technically a clear breakup of the previous high in May
would open space for a further rally ... The price is expected
to find support firstly at $1,741 and later at $1,730,"
ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said in a note.
    SPDR Gold Trust holdings on Friday rose 2% to 1,159.31
tonnes, the highest level since April 2013. Speculators
increased bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts
in the week to June 16.                  
    Silver        rose 1.4% on Monday to $17.85 per ounce, its
highest level in more than a week. Palladium        inched 0.1%
higher to $1,911.91, while platinum        gained 1.9% to
$820.89.        

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru;
editing by David Evans and Susan Fenton)
  
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