May 11, 2020 / 1:45 AM / 17 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold firm above $1,700 level on worries over new wave of infections

    May 11 (Reuters) - Gold held above the key $1,700 per ounce
level on Monday as a new wave of coronavirus infections in some
countries kept the safe-haven metal underpinned, despite firmer
equities and a stronger dollar.
        
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        climbed 0.2% to $1,704.26 per ounce by
0100 GMT. U.S. gold futures        eased 0.4% to $1,707.70.
    * The dollar        and Asian shares gained as investors
looked ahead to more countries restarting their economies, even
as some reported an unwelcome pick up in new coronavirus cases.
                  
    * Chinese authorities reported on Sunday what could be the
beginning of a new wave of virus cases in northeast China, with
one city in Jilin province being reclassified as high-risk, the
top of a three-tier zoning system.             
    * South Korea warned of a second wave of the new coronavirus
on Sunday, while new infections were accelerating again in
Germany just days after its leaders loosened social
restrictions.                         
    * The U.S. economy lost a staggering 20.5 million jobs in
April, the steepest plunge in payrolls since the Great
Depression, data showed, laying bare both the economic and human
tragedy wrought by the pandemic.             
    * The head of the International Monetary Fund on Friday
signalled a possible downward revision of global economic
forecasts, and warned the United States and China against
rekindling a trade war that could weaken recovery from the
pandemic.             
    * U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was "very
torn" about whether to end the so-called Phase 1 U.S.-China
trade deal, just hours after top officials from both countries
pledged to press ahead with implementing it despite the economic
wreckage from the pandemic.             
    * The coronavirus lockdown will not end yet, British Prime
Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday, as he outlined plans to
begin slowly easing measures that have closed much of the
economy for seven weeks.             
    * German exports fell by 11.8% in March, their steepest drop
since current records began in 1990, the Federal Statistics
Office said.             
    * Physical gold demand improved in top hub China last week
as buyers took advantage of hefty discounts, while activity
remained muted in other hubs due to lockdowns and holidays.
        
    * Speculators decreased their bullish positions in COMEX
gold contracts in the week to May 5, the U.S. Commodity Futures
Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.                     
    * Palladium        gained 0.7% to $1,895.21 an ounce,
platinum        rose 0.7% to $770.66, silver        climbed 0.4%
to $15.51.

 (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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