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Gold recovers some lost ground as slowdown fears persist

FILE PHOTO: Gold bars at the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant ‘Oegussa’ in Vienna

By Brijesh Patel

(Reuters) – Gold rose on Friday, having declined over 1% in the previous session, as persistent concerns over the pandemic-led economic slump boosted the metal’s appeal, although gains were restricted by a jump in U.S. Treasury yields.

Spot gold was up 0.4% at $1,936.64 per ounce by 0316 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.6% to $1,943.20.

“Realistically, we are probably a year or two away from the economy really recovering again,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at financial services firm AxiCorp.

“We are going to have lower interest rates for lot longer and the changes with the amount of stimulus we are getting behind the economy right now inflation could start to pick-up, which should help gold.”

Rising coronavirus cases has cast a shadow on hopes of quick economic recovery and has prompted central banks to reduce interest rates and loosen their monetary stance, helping gold prices climb 28% so far this year.

Lower interest rates decrease the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, which is also seen as a hedge against inflation and the fear of currency debasement.

Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits hovered around 1 million last week, suggesting the labor market recovery was stalling as the pandemic drags on.

“We believe gold prices remain positioned to the upside, respecting the underlying long-term uptrend as concerns over the global economy remain over the coming months, supporting safe haven assets including gold,” Fitch Solutions said in a note.

Meanwhile, U.S. Federal Reserve’s aggressive new strategy to lift employment and increased tolerance for higher inflation pushed U.S. bond yields higher, limiting gold’s advance.

Elsewhere, silver gained 0.5% to $27.21 per ounce and was on track for second consecutive weekly rise, up 1.9%.

Platinum rose 0.3% to $931.03, while palladium climbed 0.6% to $2,174.63.

(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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