Gold steadies as vaccine doubts weigh on recovery outlook

Gold prices steadied on Friday as investors took stock of doubts raised over the efficacy of an inexpensive coronavirus vaccine, but the precious metal was set for a third week of declines.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,810.75 per ounce by 0118 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,809.80 per ounce.

Gold was down over 3% for the week as progress in COVID-19 vaccine development and U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s transition to the White House bolstered risk sentiment.

Britain has asked its medicine regulator to assess Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate for temporary supply, while U.S. President Donald Trump said vaccine delivery would begin next week.

AstraZeneca, however, is facing tricky questions about its success rate that could hinder its chances of getting speedy U.S. and EU regulatory approval, prompting Asian shares to fall slightly.

Trump said on Thursday he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for Biden, the closest he has come to conceding the Nov. 3 election, even as he repeated his unfounded claims of massive voter fraud.

Raising the prospect for further stimulus, the European Central Bank’s chief economist warned that tolerating “a longer phase of even lower inflation” would hurt consumption and investment.

Core consumer prices in Tokyo recorded their biggest annual drop in more than eight years, a sign the hit to consumption from the coronavirus crisis was heightening deflationary pressure on the economy.

Britain wants to resume face-to-face trade negotiations with the European Union, but it is a decision for Brussels, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday.

Silver fell 0.9% to $23.25 per ounce, while Platinum fell 0.1% to $961.18 and palladium was up 0.3% at $2,391.19.