By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Gold was down on Monday morning in Asia. Concerns about COVID-19 outbreaks remain as countries including Australia and South Korea reintroduce restrictive measures, while U.S. inflation data and testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, are due throughout the week.

Gold futures were down 0.40% to $1,803.35 by 12:38 AM ET (4:38 AM GMT), but climbed above the $1,800 mark.

Powell will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday and Thursday, with his testimonies to be scrutinized for any clues on a timeline for asset tapering. Investors also await the U.S. core consumer price index (CPI) for June, due on Tuesday, and the producer price index due later this week.

Materials shortages and “difficulties in hiring” are holding back the U.S. economic recovery from the COVID-19 and have driven a “transitory” bout of inflation, the Fed said during the previous week.

In Europe, the European Central Bank will update its guidance on the next monetary policy steps in ten days, President Christine Lagarde said earlier in the day. She also hinted that fresh policy could be introduced in 2022 in support of the European economy.

Investors also digested a decision from the U.K.’s Prudential (NYSE:PUK) Regulatory Authority on Friday “to amend our approach to precious metal holdings related to deposit-taking and clearing activities.” The decision means that banks clearing gold trades in London can apply for an exemption from tighter capital rules due to be in place from January 2022.

COVID-19 remained on investors’ radars, as the latest outbreaks involving the virus’ Delta variant in some countries and inequitable access to vaccines were threats to the global economic recovery, Group of 20, or G20, finance ministers said on Saturday as they met in Venice.

Demand for physical gold in India, as well as other hubs, weakened during the previous week as the yellow metal’s price rose. Data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission also said speculators raised their net long positions in COMEX gold and silver in the week ended Jul. 6.

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In other precious metals, silver rose 0.6%. Palladium inched up 0.1% while platinum inched down 0.1%.

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