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Gold holds steady as virus concerns counter positive China data

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Gold prices held steady near a nine-year peak on Thursday, as concerns over rising coronavirus cases and simmering US-China tensions offset some silver linings from Chinese economic data.

[BENGALURU] Gold prices held steady near a nine-year peak on Thursday, as concerns over rising coronavirus cases and simmering US-China tensions offset some silver linings from Chinese economic data.

Spot gold crept 0.1 per cent lower at US$1,808.97 per ounce by 3.41am GMT (11.41am SGT) but moved in a very tight range of about US$5, just US$8.74 shy of its highest since September 2011, at US$1,817.71, hit last week.

US gold futures were mostly unchanged at US$1,814.20.

China's economy grew 3.2 per cent in the second-quarter from a year earlier, data showed on Thursday, recovering from a record contraction as lockdown measures ended and policymakers stepped up stimulus.

But separate data showed that while the country's industrial output beat expectations in June, retail sales unexpectedly fell again, pointing to waning consumer demand.

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Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets said the data was mixed out of China and gold's elevated levels reflect ongoing concern from some segments of investors about the growth outlook for the rest of the year.

The positive readings from China failed to help risk sentiment, which was overshadowed by a growing Sino-US rift over the control of advanced technologies and civil liberties in Hong Kong.

Safe-haven gold has risen over 19 per cent so far this year, also benefiting from low interest rates and widespread stimulus as it's seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement, although market participants were still divided on the outlook for inflation.

Investor focus now shifts to European Central Bank policy decision at 11.45am GMT.

Elsewhere, palladium was steady at US$1,980.94 per ounce, while platinum lost 1 per cent to US$824.13 and silver fell 0.6 per cent to US$19.28.

REUTERS

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