May 1, 2020 / 1:28 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold gains on dismal U.S. data, but on track for weekly loss

    May 1 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained on Friday as bleak U.S.
data highlighted the economic impact of the coronavirus, but the
metal was on track to post its biggest weekly decline in more
than a month on hopes that the countries under lockdown will
ease restrictions soon.
       
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        rose about 0.3% to $1,684.35 per ounce by
0038 GMT, having slumped nearly 2% in the previous session. U.S.
gold futures        eased 0.1% to $1,691.90.
    * The safe-haven metal was down about 2.5% for the week, its
biggest weekly drop since mid-March.
    * Millions more Americans filed claims for unemployment
benefits last week, lifting the number of applications to 30.3
million since March 21, data showed, amid a record collapse in
consumer spending in March.             
    * As White House economic reopening guidance expired on
Thursday after two weeks in place, half of all U.S. states
forged ahead with easing restrictions on restaurants, retail and
other businesses in hopes of reviving the virus-stricken
commerce.             
    * U.S. state and local governments could need close to $1
trillion in aid over several years to cope with the aftermath of
the pandemic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said as lawmakers began
plotting more relief legislation.             
    * Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures as
it is often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency
debasement.
    * The European Central Bank tweaked policy around the edges 
but kept the door wide open to further stimulus -- including
potentially controversial purchases of junk debt -- to help an
economy ravaged by the outbreak.            
    * Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday Britain was
now past the peak of its coronavirus outbreak and promised to
set out a plan next week on how the country might start
gradually returning to normal life.             
    * Japan will extend its state of emergency for containing
the novel coronavirus as early as Monday, public broadcaster NHK
reported, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it would be
difficult to return to everyday life.             
    * Palladium        gained 0.4% to $1,968.23 per ounce but
was on track to post its fifth straight weekly decline.
    * Platinum        was steady at $772.47 per ounce, while
silver        fell 0.7% to $14.91. 
 
DATA/EVENTS AHEAD (GMT)
0600  UK    Nationwide House Price MM, YY  April
0830  UK    Markit/CIPS Mfg PMI Final      April
1345  U.S.  Markit Mfg PMI Final           April
1400  U.S.  ISM Manufacturing PMI          April    

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