Gold futures on Monday headed modestly higher as investors fretted about the economic impact on China of the fast-moving outbreak of the coronavirus.
The death toll for the novel strain of coronavirus climbed to more than 900 in mainland China, exceeding that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, that claimed 774 lives and infected about 8,100 people in 2002-03. The World Health Organization warned that the spread could accelerate, with more than 40,000 cases reported as of Monday.
The precious metal is still viewed by some commodity experts as a go-to asset in the face of nagging concerns about the infectious disease.
“There is a general sense that the coronavirus will have a negative economic effect that has already stirred up monetary easing in China and could easily do elsewhere,” wrote Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, in a Monday research note.
Gold for April delivery GCJ20, +0.20% on Comex was up $4.70, or 0.3%, at $1,578.10 an ounce, on track for a fourth consecutive gain after bullion on Friday showed a 0.9% decline for the week based on the most-active contract, according to FactSet data.
March silver SIH20, +0.21%, meanwhile, added 9 cents, or 0.5%, to $17.790 an ounce, after putting in a 1.8% weekly drop last week.