Gold prices steadied and were headed for their third straight weekly gain amid worries about rising global cases of the novel coronavirus, although a firm dollar and gains in equities limited upside.
Spot gold prices traded at $1,764.39 per ounce by 0822 GMT, having touched a high of $1,779.44 on Wednesday, its highest since October 2012. The bullion has gained more than 1 percent so far this week, with prices recording a near 8-year high earlier in the week. U.S. gold futures rose 0.3 percent to $1,775.40.
Asian shares rose but were poised to end the week with marginal gains as surging coronavirus infections offset encouraging economic data. A Reuters tally showed that the number of COVID-19 cases increased across the United States, while over 9.51 million people were infected globally.
The governor of Texas temporarily halted the state’s reopening as the infections and hospitalizations surged and the United States set a new record for a one-day increase in cases. Parts of Lisbon in Portugal, western Germany, Australia’s Victoria state and Beijing re-imposed localised restrictions to slow the virus.
Data released on Thursday showed weak demand pushing U.S. employers to lay off workers, keeping the new applications for unemployment benefits at a record high, despite the reopening of several businesses. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits stood at a seasonally adjusted 1.48 million for the week ended June 20.
The greenback against a basket of currencies traded flat at 97.35, having touched a low of 96.39 on Tuesday, its lowest since June 11. The U.S. Treasury yields declined, with the benchmark 10-year note yield trading at 0.670 percent, while the 2-year yield was at 0.185 percent.
Investors now await U.S. spending data and Michigan consumer sentiment index due later in the day after a mixed bag of U.S. data overnight.