July 3, 2020 / 3:00 PM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold holds steady as virus fears offset gains in equities

    * Positive U.S. jobs, Chinese services data push stocks
    * Platinum eyes first weekly rise in six
    * Silver on track for fourth straight weekly gain
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.

 (Updates prices)
    By Nakul Iyer
    July 3 (Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed on Friday
as worries over an accelerating number of coronavirus cases
countered a fillip to risk sentiment from positive U.S. and
Chinese economic data.      
    Spot gold        was mostly unchanged at $1,775.06 per ounce
by 1:40 p.m EDT (1740 GMT). Most U.S. markets are closed on
Friday ahead of Independence Day on July 4.
    U.S. gold futures        edged down 0.2% to $1,787.30 per
    "Central bank easing policies and uncertainty surrounding
the second wave (of COVID-19) are sustaining gold prices," Bank
of China International analyst Xiao Fu said, adding that despite
a positive U.S. jobs report, more data was needed to suggest the
economy was on a strong footing.
    Gold will likely trade in a tight range, but remains well
supported above $1,750 an ounce, Xiao Fu said.      
    Cases of coronavirus continued to increase globally, with
more than 10.94 million people infected, while the United States
reported a new daily global record number of cases.             
    "Geopolitical considerations are also to the fore," said
Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA. "With a
holiday in the United States, and the weekend upon us, some
haven-directed buying of gold is definitely evident."
    Escalating political tensions, more than 75 members of the
U.S. Congress sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him
to make a formal determination on whether China's treatment of
Muslim Uighurs and other groups constituted an atrocity.
    Indicative of sentiment, holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust
     , rose 0.8% to 1,191.47 tonnes on Thursday.          
    But stemming gains in bullion, data showing a recovery in
China's services sector and a record addition of jobs to the
U.S. economy in June helped world shares hover near a four-month
    Palladium        rose 0.4% to $1,909.27 per ounce, while
platinum        climbed 0.8% to $809 per ounce, set for its
first weekly gain in six.
    Silver        gained 1% to $18.07 per ounce, heading for its
fourth consecutive weekly gain.

 (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans
and Alistair Bell)
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