Tuesday, 18 January, 2022
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Gold steady as traders assess Omicron

Gold steady as traders assess Omicron

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BENGALURU: Gold prices held steady on Tuesday, as traders assessed the impact of surging Omicron coronavirus cases and interest rate hikes aimed at taming high inflation.

Spot gold was up 0.1 per cent at US$1,790.57 per ounce by 1.42 am GMT. US gold futures were down 0.2 per cent at US$1,790.60, report agencies.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he would tighten coronavirus curbs to slow the spread of the Omicron variant if needed, after the Netherlands began a fourth lockdown and as other European nations consider Christmas restrictions.

The dollar hovered below recent highs, having lost ground overnight after a blow to Democratic spending plans in Washington.

US stocks closed more than 1 per cent lower overnight, pressured by surging Omicron coronavirus cases and a possible fatal blow to a US$1.75 trillion domestic spending bill, with oil prices plunging.

Moderna said on Monday that a booster dose of its Covid-19 vaccine appeared to be protective against the fast-spreading Omicron in laboratory testing and that the current version of the shot would continue to be its “first line of defence against Omicron”.

The Federal Reserve’s more hawkish turn this week came amid heightened worries about economic recovery and inflation, but it has barely changed the bond market’s view that short-term interest rates could top out below the US central bank’s estimated peak. Commodities outperformed other assets this year as a recovery from the pandemic boosted demand though gold’s poor showing dented investor appetite.

Spot silver was down 0.1 per cent at US$22.20 an ounce, platinum shed 0.2 per cent to US$930.72 and palladium fell 0.1 per cent to US$1,747.46.