Nov 30 (Reuters) - Gold prices were flat on Tuesday, as
cautious investors assessed the extent to which the Omicron
coronavirus variant could hurt the global economy.
* Spot gold was unchanged at $1,785.13 per ounce by
0055 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,784.30.
* The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday the
Omicron coronavirus variant carried a very high risk of
infection surges, while border closures by more countries cast a
shadow over an economic recovery from the two-year pandemic.
* But a South African infectious disease expert said
existing vaccines should be effective at preventing severe
disease from the variant.
* U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Monday he
continues to expect inflation to recede over the next year as
supply and demand come into better balance, but warned that the
new strain of COVID-19 muddies the outlook, and prices could
continue to rise for longer than earlier thought.
* Reduced stimulus and interest rate hikes tend to push
government bond yields up, raising the opportunity cost of gold,
which pays no interest.
* European Central Bank policymakers sought to reassure
investors over the new coronavirus variant on Monday, arguing
that the euro zone's economy had learned to cope with successive
waves of the pandemic.
* Costs are rising at the fastest rate in over 20 years for
firms in Britain's services sector, according to a business
survey which shows why the Bank of England may soon raise
* Platinum rose 0.4% to $966.58 an ounce, while
palladium gained 0.4% to $1,801.27.
* Russia's Nornickel <GMKN.MM,> raised its 2021-2030
investment estimate to $35 billion, allowing the world's largest
producer of palladium to upgrade its production infrastructure
and raise its long-term outlook for PGM output.
* Spot silver was steady at $22.88 an ounce.
(Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)