January 22, 2020 / 2:08 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold eases as markets assess risks from China virus

Jan 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell on Wednesday, as the dollar firmed and investors assessed the risk of a global epidemic from a coronavirus outbreak from China that could have an impact on economic growth.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold fell 0.3% to $1,553.27 per ounce by 0133 GMT. On Tuesday, prices rose to a near two-week peak before declining as much as 1%.

* U.S. gold futures were down 0.3% at $1,553.30.

* The toll from the Wuhan coronavirus in China rose to six deaths on Tuesday and the first case was reported in the United States, sending markets tumbling on fears of economic damage as tourists canceled travel plans and airports stepped up screening

* Investors worried about the threat of contagion as hundreds of millions travel for the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, which peak over the coming weekend.

* Weighing on gold, the dollar firmed against a basket of currencies, making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

* Asian stocks steadied although investors remained on edge over the possible consequences of a global pandemic.

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Tuesday fresh trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada this month could boost the U.S. economy and that growth would outperform projections, including those by the International Monetary Fund.

* China’s gold consumption fell for the first time in three years in 2019, as high prices and an economic slowdown hit buying in the world’s biggest market for the metal.

* Ivory Coast produced a record 32.478 tonnes of gold in 2019, up 35% from 24.06 tonnes in 2018, data from the mine and geology ministry seen by Reuters showed on Tuesday.

* South African miner Gold Fields Ltd has hired investment bank RBC Capital Markets to explore the sale of a 30% stake in its gold project in northern Chile, two sources said.

* In other precious metals, palladium dipped 0.7% to $2,386.00 an ounce, silver fell 0.4% to $17.70 per ounce and platinum slipped 0.7% to $992.15. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0745 France Business Climate Mfg Jan 1500 US Existing Home Sales Dec (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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