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Gold was up on Wednesday morning in Asia, thanks to a weaker dollar and comments from Secretary of the Treasury nominee Janet Yellen calling for more COVID-19 relief spending helping to lift the yellow metal’s appeal as an inflation hedge.

Gold futures were up 0.51% at $1,849.60 by 11:27 PM ET (4:27 AM GMT).

Yellen made the comments during her Senate confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, arguing that the economic benefits of a large stimulus will far outweigh the risks of a higher debt burden.

The dollar fell for a second consecutive session on Tuesday, while most U.S. Treasury yields fell after Yellen said in her hearing that tax cuts enacted in 2017 for large corporations should be repealed. The greenback continued the losses on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden and his administration takes office later in the day, with investors focused on the previous week’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal to boost the economy and speed up COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

On the COVID-19 front, the number of deaths from the virus in the U.S. surpassed 401,000 and the number of cases in the country topped 24 million as of Jan. 20, according to Johns Hopkins University. The data also showed that the number of cases globally has topped 96 million.

The Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank will hand down their policy decisions on Thursday. Meanwhile, Bank of England chief economist Andrew Haldane predicted during a webinar on Tuesday that the U.K.’s economy could begin to recover “at the rate of knots” from the second quarter of 2021, as vaccine rollouts continue.

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