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Gold eases as investors assess Omicron impact

11/29/2021 | 11:38am EST

(Adds comment, updates prices)

* Equities rebound, dollar edges up

* WHO flags global risk from Omicron, countries tighten curbs

* U.S. 10-yr. Treasury yields hover near two-week low

Nov 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Monday, resuming a broad decline from the previous week, as the dollar firmed and risk sentiment recovered with markets weighing how severe the economic impact would be from the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Spot gold fell 0.4% to $1,784.80 per ounce by 13:41 p.m. ET (1841 GMT). It had closed last week 2.9% lower, its biggest weekly drop since June. U.S. gold futures settled 0.2% lower at $1,782.30.

A semblance of calm returned to world markets following last week's selloff that was driven by the discovery of the new variant that prompted some countries to tighten border controls.

With people trying to digest news about the new COVID-19 variant, "the reality of the situation, with equities bouncing back right now and gold kind of flat, is people are into risk-on assets," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

The prospect of higher interest rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets, had been weighing on gold, and the market was closely tracking the timeline for the U.S. Federal Reserve to tighten policy.

Likely posing additional headwinds for gold, the dollar firmed, making bullion more expensive for overseas buyers, while U.S. Treasury yields climbed.

Until we get more news about the Omicron and its potential, "the market will continue to trade with uncertainty. That will not only impact some of the markets that depend on demand, like energy and metals and stock markets, but also gold," Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen said.

Spot silver fell 1.3% to $22.84 per ounce.

Among the auto catalysts, platinum gained 1.2% to $965 and palladium rose 2.7% to $1,795.69.

"The sharp fall in (palladium) prices since May has resulted in some renewed interest. But, that may prove premature with the semiconductor chip shortage likely to restrain auto demand next year," analysts at Heraeus precious metals wrote in a note. (Reporting by Asha Sistla and Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad; Editing by Ramakrishnan M and Krishna Chandra Eluri)

ę Reuters 2021
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