Gold prices edged higher on Friday after gloomy U.S. nonfarm payrolls data magnified the economic toll from the coronavirus, although a stronger dollar capped bullion's advance.
Spot gold was up 0.4% to $1,619.40 per ounce. U.S. gold futures settled 0.5% higher at $1,645.70 per ounce.
"Gold continues to be in wait-and-see mode on how bad the global economy will get and how long will the depression-like conditions last," said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at broker OANDA.
The U.S. economy shed 701,000 jobs in March, ending a historic 113 straight months of employment growth, as stringent measures to control the coronavirus outbreak hurt businesses and factories, confirming a recession is underway. The dollar firmed against rivals, edging towards a more than 2% weekly rise, as global recession fears intensified.
"Most traders would expect gold to be higher" after the payrolls data, Moya said. "Gold's problem is that supply tightness is easing and the dollar continues to grind higher.
"Ultimately gold will shine from all the fiscal and monetary stimulus being pumped into markets globally," he added.
Swiss precious metals refinery PAMP has been given permission by local authorities to restart operations and will begin processing at less than 50% capacity, it said on Friday.
On Thursday, gold gained more than 1% after the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits last week shot to a record high as more jurisdictions enforced stay-at-home measures to curb the pandemic.
Global cases of the new coronavirus have shot past 1 million, with more than 53,000 fatalities, a Reuters tally showed on Friday.
"Technically, even when everything sold off in the market, gold sold off the least. That tells you gold is strong, people want to own it. So theoretically, gold should be the leading asset for the next six to eight months," said Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors.
Reflecting investors' interest in bullion, holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust , rose 0.3% to 971.97 tonnes on Thursday.
Among other precious metals, palladium slipped 2.1% to $2,166.37 an ounce, putting it on track for a weekly decline of 4.8%. Platinum dipped 1.5% to $716.23, and was down 3.2% so far this week.
Silver shed 1.4% to $14.33 per ounce.