March 19, 2020 / 4:12 AM / 17 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold dips in volatile trade as rush for cash overshadows stimulus efforts

 (Adds comment and updates prices)
    * Dollar at 3-year high, global equities fall
    * Silver hovers near 11-year low 

    By Asha Sistla
    March 19 (Reuters) - Gold fell in volatile trade on Thursday
as fears of a worsening epidemic and its fallout on the global
economy sent investors scrambling for cash.
    Spot gold        was trading down 0.4% at $1,480.00 per
ounce by 0753 GMT. The metal fell about 3% on Wednesday along
with other precious metals.             
    U.S. gold futures         rose 0.3% to $1,481.70.
    "When panic strikes people liquidate everything that isn't
perfectly liquid ... when sentiment steadies a bit the whole
thing goes the other way," said DailyFx currency strategist Ilya
Spivak.
    "Yesterday was a big 'liquidation on' day, and now we're
seeing a 'liquidation off' correction."
    The dollar was at a three-year high hit in the previous
session, while bonds plunged and stocks struggled to find their
footing as the fears of the pandemic continue to eclipse
stimulus measures launched by governments and central banks
around the world.                   
    The ECB launched a 750 billion euro ($818 billion) emergency
bond purchase programme on Wednesday to push down borrowing
costs in a bloc struggling with the economic fallout of the
virus.             
    The Japanese government is expected to lay out economic
packages, while Germany's Chancellor urged its citizens to
adhere to rules aimed at reducing social contact.             
            
    The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation providing
billions of dollars to limit the damage from the outbreak
through free testing, paid sick leave and expanded safety-net
spending.             
    "Bullion owners in any form, physical, paper or scrap, will
probably continue to liquidate in order to boost capital levels,
the more protracted the COVID-19 global lockdown extends,"
Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp, said in a
note. 
    Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded
fund, SPDR Gold Trust      , fell 0.66% to 923.69 tonnes on
Wednesday.          
    Palladium        was little changed at $1,587.32 per ounce
after sliding more than 5% earlier, while platinum        fell
for the seventh-straight session and was last down 2.2% to
$610.52. 
    Silver        hovered close to an eleven-year low hit in the
previous session, falling 0.4% to $11.93 an ounce.

 (Reporting by Asha Sistla and K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Anil D'Silva)
  
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