March 19, 2020 / 1:11 AM / 18 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rises as ECB measures to limit virus impact lift sentiment

    March 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Thursday after a
steep fall in the previous session, as the European Central
Bank's measures to mitigate the economic effects of the
coronavirus epidemic lifted investor sentiment. 
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        rose 0.4% to $1,491.40 per ounce by 0040
GMT, having risen 1% earlier in the session. 
    * The metal fell about 3% on Wednesday along with other
precious metals, as investors sold across assets to hoard cash.
            
    * U.S. gold futures        rose 1.2% to $1,495.80 per ounce.
    * Asian stock markets fought to stabilise, as the latest
promise of stimulus from the European Central Bank propped up
sentiment while the world struggles to contain the virus
pandemic. U.S. stock futures turned positive.            
    * The euro rose against the dollar and the pound after the
ECB's asset-purchase programme announcement in response to the
coronavirus outbreak.       
    * The European Central Bank 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 coronavirus.                         
    * Japan's annual core consumer inflation eased in February
as energy prices fell and the outbreak clouded the outlook as
consumers grow more cautious about spending, adding to fears the
economy could be sliding into recession.             
    * Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will form a panel of
ministers on Thursday to lay out a package to help the economy
weather the hit from the outbreak, the government said on
Wednesday.             
    * Chancellor Angela Merkel urged all German citizens to help
fight the spread of the virus by sticking to rules aimed at
reducing direct social contact and avoiding as many new
infections as possible.             
    * U.S. President Donald Trump moved to accelerate production
of desperately needed medical equipment to battle the virus
pandemic and said an estimate that U.S. unemployment could
conceivably reach 20% was a worst case scenario.             
    * 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.             
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.66% to 923.69
tonnes on Wednesday.          
    * Palladium        rose 2.4% to $1,625.36 per ounce, while
platinum        rose 1.8% to $636.01. Silver        was up 1% at
12.10 an ounce.
    
DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
1230 U.S. Initial Jobless Claims    Weekly
1230 U.S. Philly Fed Business Indx  March

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