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Gold Futures Settle Higher On Safe-haven Appeal

Gold prices climbed higher on Thursday as risk appetite waned amid renewed fears about the spread of coronavirus and its impact on the global economy.

Worries about the coronavirus outbreak resurfaced after the adoption of new methodology for counting infections. According to reports, there were 242 deaths from the virus in the Chinese province of Hubei on Wednesday - the bulk of it due to reclassification.

The number of new infections rose, 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 such as gold, the Japanese yen and government bonds.

The dollar index, which moved in a tight range, was little changed from previous close, at 99.08 around mid afternoon.

Gold futures for April ended up $7.20, or about 0.5%, at $1,578.80 an ounce.

Silver futures for March ended up $0.122 at $17.619 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $2.6130 per pound, gaining $0.0130 for the session.

In U.S. economic news, data released by the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims crept up to 205,000 in the week ended February 8th, rising by 2,000 from the previous week's revised level of 203,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 210,000 from the 202,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Another report from the Labor Department said consumer price index inched up by 0.1% in January after rising by 0.2% a month earlier. Economists had expected prices to increase by 0.2%.

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