PRECIOUS-Gold gains as new COVID-19 variant lifts safe-haven demand
By Nakul Iyer
Nov 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained on Friday, as concerns over the spread of a newly identified coronavirus variant boosted the metal's safe-haven appeal, although bullion was set for a weekly drop on growing bets the U.S. Federal Reserve could turn more hawkish.
Spot gold XAU= was up 0.5% at $1,797.46 per ounce, as of 0445 GMT. U.S. gold futures GCv1 advanced 0.8% to $1,797.70.
The variant, detected by scientists in South Africa, may be able to evade immune responses and has prompted Britain to hurriedly introduce travel restrictions on the African nation.
Further aiding gold's climb, the dollar index =USD eased 0.2% from a 16-month peak scaled earlier this week, while U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury yields also weakened.
A weaker dollar reduces gold's cost to buyers holding other currencies, while lower yields decrease the non-yielding metal's opportunity cost.
But the metal lost 2.6% so far this week, heading for its worst week since Aug. 6, hammered by increased expectations that the Fed could taper its asset purchases and raise interest rates at a faster pace.
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