April 9, 2020 / 10:01 AM / 2 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold gains 1% on safe-haven demand, markets eye OPEC+ verdict

(Updates prices)

* Gold up more than 2.6% so far this week

* U.S. initial weekly jobless claims data due at 1230 GMT

* Oil prices gain on hopes output will be cut

* Interactive graphic tracking the global spread: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser

By Brijesh Patel

April 9 (Reuters) - Gold prices climbed 1% on Thursday on safe-haven buying ahead of a long weekend and a crucial meeting of top oil producers amid generally more positive markets driven by hopes the coronavirus pandemic is close to peaking.

Spot gold was up 0.9% at $1,660.38 per ounce by 1205 GMT, having hit a four-week high of $1,671.40 on Tuesday. It has risen more than 2.6% this week. Most markets will be closed for Good Friday on April 10.

U.S. gold futures rose 1.3% to $1,706.50.

Gold has, on occasion, risen in tandem with equity markets recently, with wider market selloffs also seeping into precious metals as investors covered losses elsewhere.

“The yellow metal continues to benefit from this calmer environment, even as risk appetite improves,” OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said in a note.

“The market is flooded with cash from central banks around the world which is inflating gold prices at this highly uncertain time.”

Holdings of gold by ETFs rose in March to a record high of 3,185 tonnes, worth $165 billion, the World Gold Council said on Wednesday.

“The virus has driven (central banks) to aggressive monetary policy stimulus and that’s driving investors into gold. Safe-haven demand has been increasing, we’re seeing a lot of inflows into exchange traded funds,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

European stock markets gained and oil prices rose on Thursday on expectations OPEC and its allies will agree to cut output to shore up prices that have tumbled due to a coronavirus-led demand collapse.

“Whatever decision is made, there will be elevated volatility in the oil market later, which will affect gold via inflation expectations,” Staunovo said.

Further helping gold’s appeal, the dollar was down 0.1%, en route to a weekly dip.

More than 1.47 million people have been reported infected by the new coronavirus globally and 87,760 have died.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Americans might be getting to the top of the “curve” and he would like to reopen the economy with a “big bang” but the death toll first needed to be heading down.

Investors also awaited U.S. jobless claims data later in the day, expected to show a jump to a staggering 15 million in the last three weeks.

Elsewhere, palladium edged 0.1% higher to $2,177.10 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.1% to $730.39 after hitting a three-week peak in the last session.

Silver rose 0.2% to $15.08. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Ken Ferris and David Clarke)

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