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. FUNDAMENTALS * 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. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 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.)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.