Gold Up, Dollar Weakens Over Holiday Risk-On Rally By

© Reuters

By Gina Lee – Gold was up on Friday morning in Asia, with the dollar weakening as Santa gifted a “risk-on” rally ahead of the holidays.

inched up 0.01% to $1,810.10 by 10:15 PM ET (3:15 AM GMT), remaining above the $1,800 mark. The , which normally moves inversely to gold, inched down on Friday.

Receding fears of the omicron COVID-19 variant’s impact on the economic recovery boosted investors’ risk appetites, capping gains for the yellow metal.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use approval for Molnupiravir, Merck & Co . Inc.’s (NYSE:) COVID-19 pill, on Thursday.

A U.K. study also showed that omicron infections are less likely to lead to hospitalization, but added that the variant may still produce a significant number of serious cases due to its infectiousness.

In Asia Pacific, however, a laboratory study showed that two doses and a booster of Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s vaccine did not produce sufficient levels of neutralizing antibodies to protect against omicron.

China also locked down Xian on Thursday to curb the latest COVID-19 outbreak in the western city. With the city’s 13 million residents told to remain in their homes and to designate one person to go out every other day for necessities, it is the biggest lockdown since the pandemic’s start in early 2020.

Elsewhere in the region, data released earlier in the day showed that Japan’s grew 0.5% year-on-year in November. The country’s cabinet also approved a record initial budget for the year starting in April 2022. For the year ending March 2023, Japan plans JPY107.6 trillion yen ($941.26 billion) in overall spending, a 0.9% increase from the current year’s initial budget, according to the finance ministry.

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