Gold range-bound as vaccine zest offsets pandemic resurgence

Gold bullion bars are pictured after being inspected and polished at the ABC Refinery in Sydney on August 5, 2020.
DAVID GRAY | AFP | Getty Images

Gold steadied in a narrow range on Tuesday, as a weaker dollar and concerns about mounting coronavirus cases and its impact on the economy were countered by optimism about the race to deliver a vaccine.

Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,884.91 per ounce. U.S. gold futures settled 0.1% lower at $1,885.10.

"There is a lack of conviction on the trajectory of safe haven flows, we've all this vaccine optimism in place, but we also have the U.S. and Europe still struggling with the pandemic," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA. "Longer term trends are still supportive for gold to rally, but we're seeing some investors kind of abandon their bullish bets. The vaccine news for many has made holding gold longer term less appealing."

Gold shed as much as 1.3% on Monday after Moderna said its vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 in a late-stage trial, becoming the second U.S. drugmaker after Pfizer to report results that exceeded expectations.

Meanwhile, U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in October and could slow further amid rising infections and new restrictions.

Limiting gold's losses, the dollar eased 0.3% against rivals.

"Gold is trapped in a range. It's limited on the upside, $1,900 is the key level of resistance, and $1,850 is key support," said Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago.

Gold will remain supported as "everyone believes that next year inflation will run hot and the U.S. Federal Reserve will not do anything about it," he added.

Bullion, considered a hedge against inflation and currency debasement, has gained over 24% this year, mainly benefiting from massive global stimulus.

Silver fell 0.8% to $24.54 per ounce. Platinum rose 0.3% to $928.54, while palladium shed 0.3% to $2,325.30.