Gold prices consolidated within narrow ranges, as worries over surging coronavirus cases globally and lingering trade tensions between the United States and China overshadowed strong U.S. jobs data.
Spot gold held firm at $1,774.90 per ounce by 0840 GMT, having touched a high of $1,789.26 on Wednesday, its highest since October 2012. U.S. gold futures eased 0.3 percent to $1,784.60.
Trading activity is likely to remain subdued as U.S. markets are closed for observing Independence Day on July 4.
On Thursday, Florida reported more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases, while over 10.76 million people have been infected worldwide. A wave of coronavirus infections has prompted U.S. states to delay and in some cases reverse plans to reopen economic activity after months of strict lockdowns.
Markets also kept a wary eye on diplomatic friction between Washington and Beijing over civil liberties in Hong Kong. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation to penalize banks doing business with Chinese officials who implement Beijing’s new national security law for Hong Kong.
China’s services sector expanded at the fastest pace in over a decade in June, the Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed. The U.S. economy added more jobs than expected in June, with the nonfarm payrolls surging by 4.8 million jobs, above the average forecast of 3 million jobs in June.
A separate report on jobless claims showed, initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 55,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1.427 million for the week ended June 27, while continuing benefit claims rose 59,000 to 19.290 million in the week ending June 20.
The greenback against a basket of currencies traded flat at 97.22, having touched a low of 96.81 on Thursday, its lowest since June 24.