Friday, 21 January, 2022

Gold holds near 3-week high on Omicron jitters

Gold holds near 3-week high on Omicron jitters

BENGALURU: Gold prices edged higher on Monday, hovering near a 3-week high hit in the previous session, as fears over the rapidly spreading Omicron coronavirus variant boosted the metal’s safe-haven appeal.

Spot gold was up 0.2 per cent at US$1,800.42 per ounce by 1.13 am GMT. US gold futures were down 0.2 per cent at US$1,801.50, report agencies.

Asian share markets fell and oil prices slid as surging Omicron cases triggered tighter restrictions in Europe and threatened to drag on the global economy into the new year.

The possibility of more Covid-19 restrictions being imposed ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays loomed over several European countries as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly.

US health officials urged Americans on Sunday (Dec 19) to get booster shots, wear masks and be careful if they travel over the winter holidays, as the Omicron variant raged across the world and was set to take over as the dominant strain in the United States.

US Federal Reserve officials openly spoke of hiking rates as soon as March and of starting to run down the central bank’s balance sheet in mid-2022.

The US dollar index hovered close to a 3-week high hit in the previous week.

Physical gold demand in India showed a modest improvement this week as some buyers rushed to stores anticipating a further rise in domestic prices, while customers in other Asian hubs started bullion shopping for Christmas.

Spot silver was up 0.1 per cent at US$22.37 an ounce, platinum shed 0.2 per cent to US$928.23 and palladium dipped 1.8 per cent to US$1,749.51.