Coronavirus, China-U.S. tensions in focus

Gold inched higher on Wednesday, holding firm above the key $1,800 level, as worries over surging coronavirus cases and simmering China-U.S. tensions lifted demand for the safe-haven metal.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,809.41 per ounce by 0031 GMT. U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,813.70.

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the United States. With more than 3.3 million cases, it has one of the highest rates of cases per capita in the world.

Many U.S. states have temporarily halted the reopening of their economies in order to curtail the outbreak, which has infected more than 13 million people worldwide so far.

Federal Reserve officials warned on Tuesday the U.S. economy faces a longer recovery from the pandemic, and economic pain could still worsen as cases mount.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation and an executive order to hold China “accountable” for the national security law it imposed on Hong Kong.

Trump also shut the door on “Phase 2” trade negotiations with China, saying he does not want to talk to Beijing about trade because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bank of Japan is expected to hold steady on policy after Wednesday’s meeting, but investors will be gauging its economic projections and any reassurances of additional stimulus if needed.

Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures from central banks because it is widely viewed as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.

Palladium rose 0.6% to $1,971.49 per ounce, platinum gained 0.6% to $831.03 and silver climbed 0.3% to $19.26.

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