June 24, 2020 / 3:27 AM / 10 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold soars to near 8-year high as fears of second virus wave grow

    * Gold up for fourth straight session
    * Dollar hovers near more than one-week low
    * European Union prepared to bar U.S. travellers

 (Updates prices)
    By Brijesh Patel
    June 24 (Reuters) - Gold climbed to its highest level in
nearly eight years on Wednesday, as safe-haven demand was
boosted by worries over a surge in coronavirus infections and
hopes of more stimulus measures to combat the economic blow.
    Spot gold        was up 0.1% at $1,767.93 per ounce as of
0645 GMT after touching $1,773, its highest level since October
2012, in early Asian trade.
    U.S. gold futures         rose 0.2% to $1,785.80.
    "The fears of second wave cases, particularly in the U.S.,
and also in Latin America, are driving concerns about sustained
weakness in the economic recovery and that's certainly
supporting safe-haven assets like gold," said ANZ analyst Daniel
Hynes.
    "Continued support that central banks are likely to provide
to the market with bond purchasing programmes and monetary
easing will clearly keep the rates low for the foreseeable
future." 
    Central banks worldwide have adopted aggressive stimulus
measures and kept interest rates low, helping gold prices surge
more than 16% this year, as the precious metal is widely seen as
a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the next
stimulus bill will focus on getting people back to work quickly
and he would consider a further delay of the deadline to file
tax returns.             
    Several U.S. states reported record infections and the death
toll in Latin America passed 100,000 on Tuesday, a Reuters tally
showed.                          
    The European Union is prepared to bar travellers from the
United States because of a surge in its cases, putting the
country in the same category as Brazil and Russia, the New York
Times said.              
    Also increasing gold's appeal, the dollar index       
hovered near a more than one-week low.       
    Elsewhere, palladium        eased 0.1% to $1,921.46 per
ounce, platinum        dropped 0.3% to $826.54 and silver       
fell 0.3% to $17.89.
    

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren
Daniel and Uttaresh.V)
  
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