PRECIOUS-Gold hits 8-week high as tighter virus lockdowns loom

  • Reuters
  • Commodities News
PRECIOUS-Gold hits 8-week high as tighter virus lockdowns loom
Credit: © Reuters.

(Updates prices)

* Tokyo considers lockdown, Britain hints at tougher restrictions

* China's Dec factory activity growth slows

* Dollar index slips

* Platinum hits highest since Sept. 2016

* Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:

By Sumita Layek

Jan 4 (Reuters) - Gold prices started the new year on a high by notching an eight-week peak on Monday, as spiking COVID-19 cases and prospects of tougher restrictions boosted the safe-haven metal's appeal.

Spot gold XAU= rose 1.4% to $1,923.70 per ounce by 0750 GMT, having hit its highest since Nov. 9 at $1,925.29, while U.S. gold futures GCv1 climbed 1.8% to $1,928.50.

Doubts about a swift global economic rebound rose after a business survey showed the pace of expansion in China's industrial sector slowed in December. for the United States and Europe is due later in the day.

The potential for weaker data as COVID-19 ravages livelihoods in the United States and Europe is supporting gold, said Dominic Schnider, head of commodities and APAC forex at UBS Wealth Management in Hong Kong.

The dollar .DXY slipped, making gold cheaper for other unit holders. USD/

Bullion received a boost after Britain's prime minister hinted at stricter curbs, while Japan said it would consider declaring a state of emergency in its capital city area. are also watching Tuesday's runoff elections in the U.S. state of Georgia that will decide the control of the Senate. will go higher if the Democrats win the Senate, basis (for) freedom to engage in more adventurous fiscal policy," said Nicholas Frappell, global general manager at ABC Bullion.

Supporting factors from 2020 such as ultra low real interest rates and stimulus measures will push gold higher in the first half of the year, while the success of vaccine programmes will also determine prices, he added.

Other commodities including oil, iron ore and copper also kicked off 2021 on a strong note as vaccine rollouts and further fiscal support hopes spurred demand and boosted prices. O/R MTL/

Minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest meeting are due on Wednesday.

Silver XAG= gained 2.8% to $27.10 an ounce, while platinum XPT= rose 2.5% to $1,095.34, after hitting it's highest since Sept. 2016 at $1,102.

Palladium XPD= climbed 0.2% to $2,452.87.

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