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Gold firms near 8-year peak as virus fears prompt…

July 1 – Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday, hovering near an eight-year high, as a spike in COVID-19 infections in the United States assuaged hopes of a swift economic rebound, pushing investors towards the safety of bullion. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold edged up 0.1% at $1,782.21 per ounce by 0115 GMT, after hitting its highest since early October 2012 at $1,785.46 in the previous session. * U.S. gold futures eased 0.1% to $1,799.30. * Fresh U.S. coronavirus cases could more than double to 100,000 per day if the current surge spirals further out of control, the government’s top infectious disease expert warned on Tuesday. * U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday pledged to do more for the U.S. economy as it battles the enormous fallout from the virus outbreak. * Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures from central banks because it is widely viewed as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement. * Japanese manufacturers’ confidence sank in the second quarter to levels not seen since the 2009 global financial crisis, underscoring the damage from the pandemic. * Sentiment in global equities was shaken after Beijing unveiled new national security laws for Hong Kong, indicating a more authoritarian future, prompting the United States to begin eliminating the city’s special status on Monday. * Asian stocks were set for a bumpy start to the second half of the year as optimism about a global economic recovery clashed with indications that the U.S. health crisis may not yet be past its peak. * Palladium fell 0.3% to $1,925.05 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.7% to $822.50 and silver gained 0.6% at $18.24. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 1345 US Markit Mfg PMI Final 1400 US ISM Manufacturing PMI 1800 US Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes of its June 9-10 policy meeting (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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