Gold prices climbed 1 per cent overnight to hit the highest level in more than a month, as investors took refuge in the safe-haven metal after an uptick in coronavirus cases dampened hopes for a quick economic recovery.
Spot gold was up 0.7 per cent to $US1,755.58 per ounce at 1841 GMT. The session high was 1,762.84, the highest since May 18.
Prices were $US8.97 shy of a 7-1/2 year high of $US1,764.55, hit last month.
US gold futures settled 0.8 per cent higher at $US1,766.40.
“There is some flight to safety in gold,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
The rise in coronavirus cases globally has led gold to break the $US1,750 level, he said. “If we close above $US1,765 today, the $US1,800 level is not very far.”
Gold, a safe haven during times of economic uncertainty, got a boost after the World Health Organisation on Sunday reported a record jump in global infections, with the biggest increases in North and South America.
Two US Federal Reserve officials on Friday warned the unemployment rate could rise again if the pandemic is not brought under control.
Central banks across the globe have taken aggressive stimulus measures and kept interest rates low during the crisis.
“There seems to be some increase in inflation expectations which is pushing real rates lower and giving some support to the gold price,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.
Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
The dollar index was down 0.5 per cent at 97.15, making gold cheaper for holders of other currencies.
Meanwhile, SPDR Gold Trust holdings on Friday rose 2 per cent to 1,159.31 tonnes, the highest level since April 2013.
Silver rose nearly 1 per cent to $US17.77 per ounce, after hitting a more than one-week high at $US18.01. Palladium was up 1.1 per cent at $US1,932.28 , while platinum gained rose 2.3 per cent to $US823.65, hitting more than a week high at $833.67.