March 12, 2020 / 1:25 AM / in 20 days

PRECIOUS-Gold gains on global growth fears as WHO declares pandemic

    March 12 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Thursday as concerns about
the economic impact from the coronavirus increased after world
health officials declared it a pandemic and many countries took
measures to combat the spread by restricting public gatherings.
    * Spot gold        rose 0.6% to $1,645.00 per ounce by 0033
GMT. U.S. gold futures        was up 0.1% at $1,644.30. 
    * The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday described
the new coronavirus as a pandemic, adding that Italy and Iran
were now on the frontline of the disease and other countries
would soon join them.                         
    * Global shares were set for a rocky ride on Thursday as
investors tally the economic damage of the virus, a day after
the WHO's announcement that pushed the U.S. Dow Jones
industrials into the bear market territory.            
    * The virus is forcing Italy to tighten its nationwide
lockdown by shutting bars, hairdressers and restaurants as other
countries closed schools and cancelled sports events and other
big gatherings.                                     
    * The European Central Bank is all but certain to unveil new
stimulus measures on Thursday, pushing policy closer to its
limits to help the euro zone economy cope with the outbreak.
    * The Bank of England slashed interest rates on Wednesday
and announced support for bank lending just hours before the
unveiling of a budget splurge designed to stave off a recession
triggered by the outbreak.             
    * British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an
emergency meeting on Thursday at which he is expected to approve
moving to the "delay phase" of the virus response that includes
more stringent measures to counter the outbreak.             
    * The Trump administration wants to ease the economic drag
from the virus with aid to workers and businesses that will pump
hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy, U.S. Treasury
Secretary told lawmakers on Wednesday.             
    * The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) on Wednesday
said gold trading volume hit daily high of $100 billion on
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.91% to 953.26
tonnes on Wednesday.          
    * Palladium        fell 0.8% to $2,285.87 per ounce, while 
platinum        slipped 0.2% to $858.63.
    * Silver        gained 0.6% to $16.85 per ounce.
1230 U.S. Initial Jobless Claims (Weekly)    
1245 EU   ECB Refinancing, Deposit Rate (March)
1230 EU   Press conference following the Governing Council
meeting of the ECB in Frankfurt        
1330 EU   ECB President Christine Lagarde speaks at a press
conference on the outcome of the Governing Council meeting

 (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; editing by
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