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Gold steady as economic worries over virus spike offset trade optimism

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Gold prices were mostly unchanged on Wednesday, as worries over the global economic outlook from rising COVID-19 cases offset an uptick in risk sentiment driven by signs of progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations.

FUNDAMENTALS

Spot gold was flat at $1,927.26 per ounce by 0037 GMT.

U.S. gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,933.60.

Top U.S. and Chinese trade officials reaffirmed their commitment to a Phase 1 trade deal, which has seen China lagging on its obligations to buy American goods, giving a boost to financial markets on Tuesday.

Asian stocks were set for a choppy session on Wednesday, following a mixed Wall Street session.

More than 23.77 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 814,072 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Underscoring the virus impact, a survey from the Conference Board showed U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in August to hit a six-year low.

Gold is used as a safe investment during times of political and financial uncertainty.

Market participants now await a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday, when he is expected to address the U.S. central bank’s view on inflation and monetary policy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that the world’s second-biggest economy is facing a period of ‘turbulent change’ and that rising external markets risk required policymakers to increasingly rely on domestic demand to spur growth.

The dollar index held steady against a basket of major currencies.

SPDR Gold Trust , the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.3% to 1,248.87 tonnes on Tuesday from 1,252.38 tonnes on Monday.

Silver was steady at $26.43 per ounce, platinum rose 0.1% to $928.12, and palladium fell 0.6% to $2,151.50.

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