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    Gold firms on virus anxiety, U.S. Fed minutes in focus

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    Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,787.50 per ounce by 0958 GMT, after hitting its highest since Aug. 6 at $1,795.25 in the previous session.

    U.S. gold futures edged 0.1% higher to $1,790.

    Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday, as concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus buoyed bullion’s appeal and investors awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting.

    Fundamentals

    Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,787.50 per ounce by 0958 GMT, after hitting its highest since Aug. 6 at $1,795.25 in the previous session.

    U.S. gold futures edged 0.1% higher to $1,790.

    “Since the flash crash last week, gold has benefited from some significant short covering,” Independent analyst Ross Norman said.

    “It’s quite clear that the macro environment perhaps isn’t quite as rosy considering the rise in Delta variant cases and evidence for that of course came out from the U.S. retail sales data which was a big miss.”

    Worries over the fast-spreading Delta COVID-19 variant and its impact on the global economy dented investors’ appetite for riskier assets.

    Adding to slowdown worries, U.S. retail sales fell more than expected in July.

    Investors await the minutes of the U.S. central bank’s July policy meeting, due later in the day, for guidance on its tapering plans.

    On Tuesday, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said it could be “reasonable” to start tapering later this year, but that would depend on the progress in the labor market.

    “We have Fed minutes today, but ultimately the focus is on the Jackson hole symposium and the next non-farm payroll numbers, which will be very crucial for the market,” said Jigar Trivedi, a commodities analyst at Mumbai-based broker Anand Rathi Shares.

    “Amid all these things because of the flight to safety due to rising COVID-19 numbers, sentiment is positive, but at the same time there is strict resistance around $1,800 for gold.”

    Elsewhere, silver rose 0.3% to $23.71 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.5% to $1,002.06.

    Palladium climbed 1% to $2,513.93, recovering from its lowest level in nearly two months hit on Tuesday.

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