PRECIOUS-Gold on track for 2nd weekly gain on global recession fears

    April 17 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched lower on Friday as
Asian equities showed signs of a rebound, but fears of a steep
global recession due to the coronavirus pandemic limited a drop
in the metal's price, putting it on course for its second
straight weekly gain.
    * Spot gold        eased 0.1% to $1,716.56 per ounce by 0045
GMT. U.S. gold futures        slipped 0.1% to $1,730.30.
    * The metal was up about 1.6% for the week so far, on track
to post its second consecutive weekly gain. 
    * Asian stocks look set to bounce on Friday to recover
towards a one-month high as investors, following Wall Street's
lead overnight, sought silver linings in a run of data that
showed the world is in its worst recession in decades.
    * China's coronavirus crisis is expected to have tipped its
economy into its first decline since at least 1992, data is set
to show on Friday, raising pressure on authorities to prop up
growth as mounting job losses threaten social stability.
    * U.S. data showed 5.2 million Americans sought unemployment
benefits last week, down from a slightly revised 6.6 million the
week before, but lifting total filings for claims over the past
month to a record 22 million.             
    * U.S. President Donald Trump proposed guidelines on
Thursday under which U.S. state governors could act to revive
the U.S. economy from its coronavirus shutdown in a staggered,
three-stage process.             
    * The Federal Reserve's balance sheet increased to a record
$6.42 trillion this week as the central bank used its nearly
unlimited buying power to soak up assets to keep markets
functioning amid an abrupt economic free fall due to the virus.
    * Britain extended its nationwide lockdown on Thursday as
stand-in leader Dominic Raab ordered Britons to stay at home for
at least another three weeks to prevent the spread of the
outbreak which has already claimed over 138,000 lives globally.
    * Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expanded a state of
emergency to include the entire country on Thursday and said the
government was considering cash payouts for all in an effort to
stem the outbreak and cushion the economic downturn.
    * Palladium        rose 1.7% to $2,190.78 per ounce and
platinum        gained 0.4% to $786.30, while silver        fell
0.7% to $15.51.

0200  China  Urban Investment (YTD) YY           March
0200  China  Industrial Output, Retail Sales YY  March
0200  China  GDP YY                              Q1
0900  EU     HICP Final MM, YY                   March    

 (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Ramakrishnan M.)