April 30, 2020 / 4:03 PM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold dips, but still on track for best month in eight

 (Recasts, adds comments, updates prices)
    * Gold up more than 8% so far this month
    * Palladium faces worst monthly decline since late 2015
    * Silver eyes best month in 6 months
    * Platinum heads for it first monthly gain in 4

    By Eileen Soreng
    April 30 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Thursday as investors
liquidated their long positions, but was en route to its best
month since August on the massive amounts of stimulus intended
to stem the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
    Spot gold        fell 1.6% to $1,683.72 per ounce by 2:21
p.m. EDT (1820 GMT), having hit a low since April 22 at
$1,680.25. U.S. gold futures         settled down or 1.1%, at
1,694.20.
    For the month, bullion has risen more than 7% having hit
$1,746.50 an ounce on April 14, a more than seven-year high. 
    "There's some long liquidation after possibly some
disappointment that it wasn't moving higher... If we get below
the key support level- $1,662, it can drop much more," said
Edward Meir, analyst at ED&F Man Capital Markets.
    "Concerns about the virus seem to be receding a little bit
as more countries are opening up and loosening restrictions.
There isn't as much a flight to safety deluge as we were seeing
few weeks ago." 
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain was now past the
peak of its coronavirus outbreak and promised to set out a
lockdown exit strategy next week, joining other economies like
United States, New Zealand and Australia gradually easing
restrictions.             
    On Wednesday, the Fed kept interest rates near zero and
promised to expand emergency programs as needed to help the
battered economy. The Fed on Thursday widened a key program to
nurse the "Main Street" economy through the coronavirus
pandemic.                           
    Bullion tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures
as it is often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency
debasement.
    Data showed millions more Americans filed claims for
unemployment benefits last week, suggesting layoffs were
spreading to industries that were not initially directly
impacted by business closures and disruptions related to the
coronavirus.             
    "The jobless claims are clearly probably one of the most
dramatic economic indicators of how we've been affected by the
coronavirus and I don't see those jobless claims turning around
quickly once we begin to reopen," said David Meger, director of
metals trading at High Ridge Futures.
    In other precious metals, silver        slipped 3.1% to
$14.89 per ounce and is set for its biggest monthly rise since
October. 
    Palladium        climbed 2% to $1,974.97 per ounce, but was
on track for its biggest monthly decline since November 2015.
    Platinum        was steady at $774.88 and was poised for its
first monthly gain in four. 

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru
Editing by Chris Reese and Alistair Bell)
  
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