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NEW YORK: Gold extended its recovery on Monday, buoyed by a pullback in US Treasury yields and some safe-haven buying spurred by COVID-19-related concerns, with investors looking for more direction from the Federal Reserve on monetary policy.

Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,786.29 per ounce by 1:40 pm EDT (1740 GMT). US gold futures settled up 0.7% at $1,789.8.

Prices jumped more than 1% on Friday after data showed US consumer sentiment plummeted in August, helping the metal recover from steep declines in the earlier part of last week after bets for tapering got a fillip from recent strong labor data.

While COVID-19-related safe-haven buying has been seen in Europe, the US market has not seen the same level of interest, said TD Securities commodity strategist Daniel Ghali, adding a rising trend of higher gold purchases from central banks are providing underlying support to bullion.

“We’re seeing an aftermath of a significant positioning squeeze in gold” with the large amount of short positions accumulated as Fed taper talks grew louder now being covered, Ghali added.

Investors now await direction from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and the central bank’s minutes from its July policy meeting.

US Treasury yields were pinned near more than a week low, reducing the opportunity cost of holding the non-interest bearing bullion. Markets are also keeping a close watch on turmoil in Afghanistan.

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