Safe-haven gold pierced the $US1,900 per ounce ceiling on Friday for the first time since 2011 as a worsening US-China row added to fears over the hit to a global economy already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

Spot gold climbed 0.7 per cent to $US1,899.68 per ounce by 1800 GMT, after hitting $US1,905.99, the highest level since September 2011.

Prices were set to gain 5 per cent for the week, their best since week ended March 27.

US gold futures settled up 0.4 per cent at $US1,897.5.

“Concerns about more global economic slowing due to the increasingly acerbic US-China spat is seen as likely to keep global government and monetary support going even longer,” said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO.

In yet another escalation, China ordered the United States to close its consulate in the city of Chengdu, responding to a US demand for China to close its Houston consulate.

This hammered risk sentiment and sent the dollar to a two-year trough.

Further bolstering bullion’s appeal was the constant surge in COVID-19 cases, with the US tally crossing over 4 million and global infections breaching 15.58 million.

“The only thing I can see to take the wind out of gold’s sails is the rapid development of a coronavirus vaccine, because until that happens, all this uncertainty (in markets) will stay with us,” said StoneX analyst Rhona O’Connell.

Non-yielding gold has surged over 25 per cent this year, underpinned by low interest rates and stimulus from central banks.

Silver fell 0.2 per cent to $US22.67 per ounce, but was up over 17 per cent for the week, its best since 1987, bolstered by hopes for a revival in industrial activity.

“Investors are perceiving silver as being undervalued compared to gold and that is why silver has really surged,” said Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff, adding that the next price target would be $US25.

Platinum rose 1.3 per cent to $US916.97 and palladium climbed 4.3 per cent to $US2,216.31.