Gold prices inched higher on Friday and were poised for their biggest weekly gain since October 2011, as mounting worries over the economic fallout from the fast-spreading coronavirus drove investors towards the safe-haven metal.
Spot gold climbed 0.2% to $1,672.80 per ounce by 0118 GMT, having risen about 2% in the previous session. The metal has gained about 5.5% so far this week.
U.S. gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,674.20.
Asian equities followed Wall Street lower, after major U.S. indexes fell more than 3% on Thursday, on fears that the epidemic could land a hard blow on the global economy.
The virus death toll in the United States rose to 12 on Thursday with the latest fatality recorded in King County, Washington, and 53 new cases broke out across the country, striking for the first time in Colorado, Tennessee, Texas and San Francisco.
The U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell to a record low, while the dollar held close to a two-month low touched against key rivals on Thursday.
Against the dollar, the safe-haven Japanese yen hovered close to its highest since September, scaled in the previous session.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, suggesting the labour market was on solid footing despite the epidemic, data showed.
The virus could knock $211 billion off the combined economies of the Asia-Pacific, with Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia among the most exposed, S&P Global Ratings said.
The Bank of Japan may take steps this month to ensure companies hit by the outbreak do not face a financial squeeze before the March end of the current fiscal year, according to sources familiar with the central bank’s thinking.
The European Central Bank has asked euro zone banks to review their business continuity plans and the actions they can take to prepare for and minimize the potential adverse effects of the virus, according to a letter seen by Reuters, dated Tuesday.