Gold futures settled higher on Thursday amid a surge in new coronavirus cases, and on worries about the economic impact of tighter restrictions on businesses in several countries.
Despite several countries beginning to administer coronavirus vaccines, worries about a new strain of the virus which was first noted in the U.K. weighed on riskier assets, prompting investors to seek safer options.
The dollar’s recovery from lower levels limited gold’s uptick. The dollar index, which fell to 89.52 in the Asian session, recovered well as the day progressed, and was last seen at 89.95, up 0.3% from previous close.
Gold futures for February ended with a gain of $1.70 at $1,895.10 an ounce.
Gold futures gained a modest 0.7% in the holiday-shortened week. Gold gained almost 25% in 2020, the best annual returns in ten years.
Silver futures for March ended lower by $0.161 at $26.412 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $3.5190 per pound, down $0.0300 from previous close. Silver prices surged up by about 50% in the year.
Data released by the Labor Department this morning showed a modest drop in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 26th.
The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 787,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 806,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 833,000 from the 803,000 originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, the report said the less volatile four-week moving average climbed to 836,750, an increase of 17,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 819,000.