Gold was slightly up on Friday morning in Asia, with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s unveiling of a massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s commitment to keep monetary policy dovish giving the safe-haven asset a boost.
Gold futures inched up 0.01% at $1,851.65 by 10:52 PM ET (3:52 AM GMT).
Biden unveiled his “American Rescue Plan” on Thursday, which includes a wave of new spending, more direct payments to households, an expansion of jobless benefits and an enlargement of vaccinations and virus-testing programs. However, questions have been raided over how he and his administration plan to foot the bill.
Data released on Thursday showed that the number of initial jobless claims filed in the U.S. soared to 965,000, higher than the 795,000 claims in forecasts prepared by Investing.com and the 784,000 claims filed during the previous week. The figures confirmed weakening labor market conditions and a worsening COVID-19 situation. Global coronavirus cases rose to more than 92.22 million.
For his part, Powell said during a virtual symposium at Princeton University that the Fed will raise interest rates “no time soon”, unless there are troubling signs of inflation. He added that policy makers would “let the world know” well in advance of any decision to taper bond purchases, with the comments further steepening the yield curve and seeing a rise in breakeven rates.
Meanwhile, investors will be looking to the U.S. Senate, which meets as soon as next week to being incumbent President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. The House of Representatives already voted for the impeachment on Wednesday, with Trump facing charges of inciting his supporters’ riot in Capital Hill during the previous week.