Off The Wire
Gold hits record high as virus fears, weaker dollar boost demand
Aug 3 (Reuters) - Gold rose to an all-time high on Monday as a softer U.S dollar and fears over the global economic fallout from surging coronavirus cases lifted demand for the safe-haven metal.
* Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,976.47 per ounce by 0028 GMT, after hitting a record high of $1,984.66 in early Asian trade.
* U.S. gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,996.30.
* The coronavirus has infected 4.6 million people in the United States and more than 17.96 million people globally.
* The United States is in a new phase of the novel coronavirus outbreak with infections "extraordinarily widespread" in rural areas as well as cities, White House coronavirus experts said on Sunday.
* Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he was not optimistic on reaching agreement soon on a deal for the next round of legislation to provide relief to Americans hit hard by the pandemic.
* The dollar index held close to a more than two-year low against its rivals, making gold less expensive for holders of other currencies.
* Asian shares made a cautious start to the new month on Monday.
* On the physical side, Chinese gold dealers were forced to offer the steepest-ever discounts last week as demand plunged.
* Speculators reduced their bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to July 28, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.
* Silver eased 0.1% to $24.35 per ounce, platinum fell 0.8% to $899.90 and palladium dropped 1.1% to $2,068.98.
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(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)