April 24, 2020 / 4:20 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold dips on profit-taking, but eyes weekly gain on economic woes

 (Adds details and updates prices)
    * Asian shares fall, dollar holds near 2-week peak
    * U.S. approves $484 billion coronavirus relief bill 
    * EU agrees on need for special trillion-euro fund
    * Interactive graphic tracking the global spread: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7
 in an external browser

    By Shreyansi Singh
    April 24 (Reuters) - Gold eased on Friday as investors
booked profits after a 1% rise in the previous session, but weak
economic data from the United States and Europe due to the novel
coronavirus kept bullion on track for a weekly gain.
    Spot gold        slipped 0.4% to $1,724.05 per ounce by 0619
GMT, but was up over 2.3% for the week so far.
    Prices hit a more than one-week high of $1,738.58 on
Thursday, bolstered by hopes of more stimulus from the United
States, especially after jobless claims soared to a record 26
million in the past five weeks.             
    U.S. gold futures         were little changed at $1,745.10
per ounce. 
    "We've seen a little bit of a pullback on gold just because
it was such a big rally last night," IG Markets analyst Kyle
Rodda said.
    Asian shares and U.S. stock futures fell, spurred by doubts
about progress in the development of drugs to treat COVID-19 and
new evidence of U.S. economic damage caused by the pandemic.
    The dollar        held close to a more than two-week high 
touched on Thursday, limiting appetite for gold.        
    The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a
$484 billion coronavirus relief bill on Thursday, funding small
businesses and hospitals and pushing the total spending response
to the crisis to an unprecedented near $3 trillion.             
    European Union leaders agreed to build a trillion-euro
emergency fund to help recover from the pandemic.             
    While profit-taking weighed on gold, "the continuation of
global central bank stimulus will be supportive for bullion as
real rates remain negative", Stephen Innes, chief market
strategist at financial services firm AxiCorp, said in a note.
    Gold, considered a safe store of value during economic or
political uncertainties, tends to benefit from widespread
stimulus measures from central banks since it's seen as a hedge
against inflation and currency debasement. 
    The outbreak has pushed governments and central banks around
the world to unleash unprecedented fiscal and monetary support
for economies.                                       
    Economic activity in the euro zone all but ground to a halt
this month as the coronavirus sweeping across the world forced
governments to impose lockdowns and firms to down tools and shut
their businesses, a survey showed.                          
    Among other precious metals, palladium        rose 0.4% to
$1,988.17 an ounce, but was on track to post its fourth straight
weekly decline.
    Platinum        rose 1.0% to $762.35 per ounce, while silver
       fell 1.0% to $15.15 per ounce.

 (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
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