Gold Set for Best Week in 11 Yrs.

Prices for gold edged lower on Friday as investors booked profits, but was set for their best week since December 2008 as record high U.S. jobless claims due to the coronavirus fueled hopes for more stimulus to stem the economic damage caused by the epidemic.

Autocatalysts platinum and palladium, meanwhile, were poised for their biggest weekly gains on record, as a lockdown in major producer South Africa stoked supply worries.

Spot gold fell 0.4% to $1,622.65 U.S. per ounce early Friday morning after five straight sessions of gains. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.7% to $1,640.00 per ounce.

Bullion has gained 8.2% so far this week, supported by weak U.S. unemployment data and the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented economic stimulus measures.

The U.S. House of Representatives Speaker said she expected the chamber to pass an estimated $2.2-trillion virus relief bill when it meets on Friday, following the Senate’s approval on Wednesday.

Experts say the data was supportive for gold as it fueled expectations for more fiscal measures, more quantitative easing and more action by the Fed.

Meanwhile, leaders of the Group of 20 major economies pledged on Thursday to inject more than $5 trillion into the global economy to limit job and income losses.

Gold market participants also kept a close eye on physical supply as virus-led lockdowns stalled supply chains.

China’s net gold imports via Hong Kong halved in February from the previous month, as the outbreak slowed activity.

Palladium slipped 1.2% to $2,303.75 U.S. per ounce but rose 40% for the week, while platinum fell 0.2% to $734.57 U.S. per ounce but added more than 20% in the week.

Silver rose 1.2% to $14.55 U.S. an ounce, heading for its best week since 2008.