Gold prices rise as coronavirus fears persist

Gold futures on Friday shook off losses seen shortly after the release of better-than-expected U.S. employment data, to settle higher as renewed worries about the spread of the coronavirus and it’s impact on the global economy worked to pull U.S. benchmark stock indexes down from record levels.

The precious metal is still viewed by some commodity experts as a go-to asset in the face of an expected period of lower interest rates globally and nagging concerns about Wuhan virus.

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The U.S. created a better-than-expected 225,000 new jobs in January, reflecting surprising resilience in the labor market. The increase in new jobs easily surpassed the 164,000 forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch.

Gold prices appreciated “despite January’s nonfarm payrolls smashing market expectations,” said Lukman Otunuga, senior research analyst at FXTM.

“The positive jobs report should reinforce optimism over the U.S. economy and boost appetite towards king dollar, which could be bad news for gold,” he told MarketWatch. “Nevertheless, appetite towards the precious metal may remain supported by coronavirus fears and global growth concerns.”

Gold for April delivery GCJ20, +0.03% on Comex rose $3.40, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,573.40 an ounce. For the week, bullion lost about 0.9% based on the most-active contract, according to FactSet data.

March silver SIH20, -0.04%, meanwhile, fell 12.6 cents, or 0.7%, to $17.692 an ounce, following a gain of 1.2% on Thursday. Silver prices suffered a 1.8% weekly drop.

So far, 638 people have died from the novel coronavirus strain that reportedly originated in Wuhan City, China, and the number of cases have ballooned to 31,000 thus far since the start of January, China’s National Health Commission said on Friday.

Some experts said the hotter-than-expected labor-market results may have

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