March 25, 2020 / 1:15 AM / 8 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold extends gains on hopes of U.S. stimulus package

    March 25 (Reuters) - Gold rose for a third straight session
on Wednesday, hitting its highest in about two weeks, as
positive rhetoric from U.S. lawmakers regarding a stimulus bill
to cushion the economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak
lifted investor sentiment.
    * Spot gold        was up 0.9% at $1,624.18 per ounce by
0038 GMT, after rising as much as 1.6% to $1,635.79 earlier in
the day - its highest since March 12. The metal jumped more than
3% in the previous session.
    * U.S. gold futures        climbed 1.6% to $1,687.30.
    * Senior U.S. Democrats and Republicans said on Tuesday they
were close to a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package to limit
the pandemic's economic toll.             
    * Asian shares extended their rally in the wake of Wall
Street's big gains as U.S. Congress appeared closer to passing
the stimulus package.            
    * The United States could become the global epicentre of the
virus, the World Health Organization said, as India announced a
full 24-hour, nationwide lockdown in the world's second-most
populous country.             
    * Fatalities in Italy have surged in the last 24 hours, the
Civil Protection Agency said on Tuesday, dashing hopes the
epidemic in the world's worst-hit country was easing after more
encouraging numbers in the previous two days.             
    * The virus had infected more than 395,500 people across the
world, as of Tuesday.             
    * Business activity collapsed from Australia, Japan and
Western Europe to the United States at a record pace in March as
measures to contain the epidemic hammer the world economy,
cementing economists' views of a deep global recession.
    * London spot gold prices were far below U.S. gold futures
on Tuesday in a sign the market is worried air travel
restrictions and precious metal refinery closures will hamper
shipments of bullion to the United States to meet contractual
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 1.3% to 935.98
tonnes on Tuesday.          
    * Palladium        climbed 1.3% to $1,958 an ounce and
platinum        gained 3% to $729.49. Both the metals rose more
than 10% in the previous session as major producer South Africa
was locked down due to the virus.                         
    * Silver        rose 1.6% to $14.49 per ounce.
0700 UK       CPI YY                    FEB
0900 Germany  Ifo Business Climate New  March
0900 Germany  Ifo Curr Conditions New   March
0900 Germany  Ifo Expectations New      March
1230 U.S.     Durable Goods             Feb

 (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
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