April 23, 2020 / 3:26 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold eases on profit-taking, but holds above $1,700 level

 (Adds details and updates prices)
    * Dollar hits more than two-week high
    * U.S. initial weekly jobless claims data due at 1230 GMT
    * Interactive graphic tracking the global spread: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7
 in an external browser

    By Shreyansi Singh
    April 23 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Thursday as
investors booked profits from sharp gains in the previous
session, but prices held above the $1,700 an ounce level on the
promise of more U.S. stimulus measures to ease the economic blow
from the coronavirus crisis. 
    Spot gold        fell 0.2% to $1,710.78 per ounce by 0520
GMT, after Wednesday's more than 1.5% jump. U.S. gold futures
        were little changed at $1,738.90 per ounce. 
    "The market is probably more inclined to take profit on
gold, simply because they are nearing the highs of the recent
range," said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at financial
services firm AxiCorp. 
    "The U.S. kicked in more stimulus, which is really positive
for gold because it increases fiscal deficits in the country.
And with these low interest rates staying low, this is just a
welcoming relief."
    Against key rivals, the dollar        climbed to a more than
two-week peak earlier in the session, making gold costlier for
investors using other currencies.        
    Asian stock markets rose as the combination of a rebound in
crude prices from historic lows and the promise of more U.S.
government aid to cushion the coronavirus-ravaged economy helped
calm nervous markets.             
    The U.S. House of Representatives expects to pass a nearly
$500 billion coronavirus relief bill on Thursday but will put
off any decision on changing its voting rules to avoid a
potential partisan fight.                          
    "In a nutshell, gold investors are more impressed with the
bullish aspect of more fiscal spending than with the bearish
impact of higher equities," Innes said. 
    The pandemic has prompted governments and central banks
around the world to unleash unprecedented fiscal and monetary
support for economies battered by the virus.             
                         
    The European Central Bank said on Wednesday it would let
banks post collateral that was downgraded to junk during the
outbreak to prevent a credit squeeze in the euro zone.
             
    Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures from
central banks since it is seen as a hedge against inflation and
currency debasement. 
    Market participants also awaited U.S. initial weekly jobless
claims data due at 1230 GMT. 
    Meanwhile, SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.9% to
1,042.46 tonnes on Wednesday.          
    Among other precious metals, palladium        rose 0.6% to
$1,949.18 an ounce.
    Platinum        climbed 0.4% to $760.35 per ounce, while
silver        gained 0.6% to $15.24 per ounce.

 (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by
Ramakrishnan M. and Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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