Gold up, shining over prospect of more COVID-19 restrictive measures

LONDON: Gold was up on Monday morning in Asia, with a surge in global COVID-19 cases and the prospect of more countries imposing tighter restrictions giving the safe-haven asset a boost.
Gold futures jumped 1.67% at $1,926.70 by 11:49 PM ET (4:49 AM GMT), surpassing the $1,900 mark and seeing their highest level in eight weeks. The dollar, which usually moves inversely to gold, was down on Monday morning.
The holiday season saw a largely muted demand for physical gold across top Asian hubs during the previous week.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on, with over 85 million COVID-19 cases as of Jan. 4, with over 20.6 million cases of them in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Japan has also seen a record number of COVID-19 cases over the past few days, with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga saying earlier in the day that he would consider declaring a fresh state of emergency in the Tokyo area.
Suga added that the government will finalize the extent of the emergency declaration shortly and said that he will ask parliament to amend an act on virus management when it convenes later in the month.
In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also hinting at the possibility of tougher lockdown restrictions in his country. However, on the vaccine front, the U.K. will become the first country to roll out AZD1222, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) PLC and the University of Oxford, later in the day. The vaccine, approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on Dec. 30, is more easily transportable and will be low-cost.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the minutes from its December meeting on Wednesday. Investors will be looking for more detail on the discussions about making their forward policy guidance more explicit and the chance of a further increase in asset buying in 2021.
Also, all eyes are on a Jan. 5 runoff election in the state of Georgia to fill to two Senate seats to decide the party that will control the chamber. With Senate Republicans already blocking a push to increase the amount of COVID-19 stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 during the past week, the outcome will determine whether President-elect Joe Biden can push his legislative agenda, which includes more stimulus, through Congress.

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