Gold traded near an eight-week high as a surge in global coronavirus cases and curbs stoked demand for the haven, which has been supported by lower U.S. real yields, a weaker dollar, and slumping equities.

Bullion has made a strong start to the new year, with the variant strain of the coronavirus first identified in the U.K. now found in New York State. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a national lockdown in England starting from Monday night until mid-February. Global coronavirus infections climbed above 85 million, after daily cases in the U.S. soared to a record of nearly 300,000.

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