January 31, 2020 / 2:11 AM / 18 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold eases on China data, but set for monthly gain amid virus fears

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched lower on Friday after surveys showed Chinese manufacturing activity held steady in January and services firmed, although concerns over the coronavirus and its economic impact kept the metal on track for a second monthly gain.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold fell 0.1% to $1,571.77 per ounce by 0124 GMT. For the month, prices were up 3.6%. U.S. gold futures declined 0.8% to $1,570.70.

* Factory activity in China stalled in January, with the outbreak of the new virus adding to risks facing the economy despite easing trade tensions, while growth in the services sector activity quickened.

* This came after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a global emergency, as the death toll in China reached 213 and cases spread to at least 18 countries.

* Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said the WHO “doesn’t recommend - and actually opposes” restrictions on travel or trade with China, and that measures taken by Beijing can “reverse the tide”.

* The U.S. economy missed the Trump administration’s 3% growth target for a second straight year, posting its slowest annual growth in three years in 2019.

* The U.S. House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation on Thursday seeking to rein in President Donald Trump’s ability to deploy U.S. forces to fight abroad.

* The virus outbreak in China is emerging as a potentially major new risk to the global economy and leaving policymakers, still grappling with the impact of the Sino-U.S. trade war, fretting over the widening fallout.

* On the Brexit front, the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on Friday for an uncertain future.

* India’s gold demand is expected to rebound in 2020 as the government seeks to bolster consumer confidence and spending power to revive Asia’s third-biggest economy, the World Gold Council (WGC) said.

* Palladium rose 0.3% to $2,316.71 an ounce. Prices were set to gain of 19% this month, but were down nearly 5% this week.

* Silver fell 0.2% to $17.79 and was down 1.5% for the week, its biggest since the week ended Dec. 6, while platinum climbed 0.4% to $981.63 and was on track to decline 2% for the week.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0630 France GDP Preliminary QQ Q4 0745 France CPI (EU Norm) Prelim YY Jan 1000 EU HICP Flash YY Jan 1000 EU HICP-X F&E Flash YY Jan 1000 EU GDP Flash Prelim YY, QQ Q4 1330 US Consumption, Adjusted MM Dec 1500 US U Mich Sentiment Final Jan (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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