February 27, 2020 / 10:48 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rises on pandemic fears; palladium scales new peak

(Updates prices)

* Global stocks slide, U.S. 10-yr Treasury yields hit record low

* Nornickel expects palladium deficit of 0.9 mln oz in 2020

* GRAPHIC-2020 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

* Coronavirus interactive graphic: tmsnrt.rs/2GVwIyw

By Sumita Layek

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained on Thursday as rising cases of coronavirus beyond China exacerbated fears of a pandemic and its broader economic impact, boosting hopes for interest rate cuts by major central banks and demand for safe haven assets.

Palladium notched up an all-time high, driven by short supplies of the auto-catalyst metal.

Spot gold rose 0.6% to $1,650.12 per ounce by 1237 GMT, having jumped as much as 1% in the previous session. U.S. gold futures were also up 0.6% at $1,652.30.

“The global panic around the coronavirus outbreak is pulling equity markets down, while all the funds are coming to safe havens ... there are few places to hide, and gold is one of the best alternatives,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.

“If the coronavirus doesn’t take a U-turn then $1,700 is just a matter of time and even higher prices (are on the cards).”

Global stocks plunged, while U.S. 10-year Treasury yields hit a record low as governments ramped up measures to battle a looming global pandemic of the coronavirus.

A number of new coronavirus infections in other countries overtook China - the source of the outbreak for the first time, raising fears of a wider spread.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration official warned of the potential for a global pandemic as the country managed 59 cases, although President Donald Trump said the country was in “great shape” to handle a looming health crisis.

The potential global economic impact from the epidemic has also led investors to boost bets for a rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve and several major central banks.

Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Among other precious metals, palladium hit an all-time record peak of $2,847.50 per ounce, and was last down 2.2% to $2,728.69.

“It’s partially connected to the statements of Norilsk Nickel and Impala Platinum suggesting a very strong deficit market once again in 2020. So we are heading to the ninth consecutive year of deficit and prices will remain supported on that,” said UBS commodities analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Nornickel, the world’s largest palladium producer, said it expects to see a deficit in the global palladium market of 0.9 million ounces in 2020.

Platinum rose 0.5% to $915.38, after touching its lowest since December, while silver gained 0.9% to $18.04 an ounce.

Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan; editing by David Evans and Bernadette Baum

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