PRECIOUS-Gold climbs to 7-year high on growth fears, stimulus measures

 (Updates prices)
    * SPDR Gold holdings rise to highest since June 2013
    * Better than expected Chinese trade data lifts stocks
    * Interactive graphic tracking the global spread: open
 in an external browser

    By Brijesh Patel
    April 14 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose to their highest in
more than seven years on Tuesday as concerns over global
economic growth and a wave of stimulus measures from central
banks and governments lifted bullion's appeal.
    Spot gold        was up 0.4% at $1,721.54 per ounce at 1202
GMT, having touched its highest since November 2012. U.S. gold
futures         were steady at $1,761.80.
    Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures from
central banks, as it is often seen as a hedge against inflation
and currency debasement. Lower interest rates also cut the
opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. 
    "The flood of new money digitally printed by the central
banks and huge debt pile by the states to fight the negative
impact of the coronavirus (are) helping gold," said Commerzbank
analyst Carsten Fritsch
    "Uncertainty (due to the virus) continues and supports the
safe-haven demand, along with the continued huge inflow into the
gold-backed exchange traded funds."
    Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed ETF, rose to 1,009.70 tonnes on Monday, the highest
since June 2013.          
    Gold's rise came alongside gains in global equities after
Chinese trade data came in better than expected and some
countries tried to restart their economies by partly lifting
restrictions aimed at containing the outbreak.            
    Bullion has on occasion moved in tandem with stock markets
this year, with recent sharp sell-offs prompting investors to
sell precious metals to cover their losses elsewhere.
    Enough safe-haven demand remains for gold to counter
pressure from any further weakness in stocks going into the
company earnings season, said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.
    Many nations have rolled out fiscal and monetary support to
prop up their economies hit by the virus, which has infected
more than 1.88 million people globally and killed 119,168.
    Last week, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a $2.3
trillion stimulus package, while European Union finance
ministers have agreed on half-a-trillion euros worth of economic
    A steep economic downturn and massive coronavirus rescue
spending will nearly quadruple the fiscal 2020 U.S. budget
deficit to a record $3.8 trillion, 18.7% of U.S. economic
output, a Washington-based watchdog group said on Monday.
    Further supporting bullion, the dollar        slipped
against a basket major currencies.       
    "On the technical side, (gold) prices could jump higher
towards $1,730 if a solid weekly close above $1,700 is achieved.
Alternatively, sustained weakness below may... open the doors
back towards $1,675," FXTM analysts said in a note.
    Other precious metals also rose, with palladium       
gaining 2.9% to $2,251.57 per ounce. Silver        rose 0.6% to
$15.54, and platinum        climbed 3.1% to $771.22.

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey
and Mark Potter)