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Gold Prices Inch Higher As New Virus Cases Surge

Gold prices gained ground Thursday on safe-haven demand after the number of deaths and new cases from China's coronavirus outbreak rose dramatically - fueling speculation that the severity of the outbreak has been under-reported.

Some 242 deaths from the new coronavirus were recorded in the Chinese province of Hubei on Wednesday. There was also a huge increase in the number of cases, with 14,840 people diagnosed with the virus.

Officials in Hubei said they were broadening their definition for COVID-19 cases by including people "clinically diagnosed" with the virus in the daily tally.

The sudden increase in number of cases in the Hubei province and the fastest rise in the daily death count since the outbreak boosted demand for traditional safe-haven assets, including gold.

Spot gold rose 0.6 percent to $1,574.43 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.4 percent at $1,577.45.

The euro sunk to its lowest in 21/2 years against the dollar in European trade after Eurozone industrial production output data for December came in below expectations and pointed to the sharpest decline in over 10 years.

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