February 5, 2020 / 1:41 AM / 16 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices edge higher on virus worries

Feb 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched up on Wednesday after a sharp drop in the previous session, as a virus outbreak from China spread further and the death toll neared 500, although risk appetite was buoyed by Beijing’s efforts to mitigate its economic impact.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was up 0.2% to $1,555.41 per ounce by 0050 GMT. Prices declined over 1.5% on Tuesday to their lowest since Jan. 21 at $1,548.70. U.S. gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,558.40.

* The coronavirus outbreak claimed its first life in Hong Kong, compounding the international financial centre’s problems after anti-government protests, and Macau, the world’s biggest gambling playground, urged casinos to shut their doors.

* China’s death toll from the coronavirus rose to 479 by the end of Feb. 4, Chinese state television reported.

* The White House’s top economic adviser said on Tuesday that the coronavirus would delay a surge in U.S. exports to China expected from the Phase 1 trade deal set to take effect later this month.

* Chinese policymakers are readying measures to support an economy jolted by the outbreak that is expected to have a devastating impact on first-quarter growth, policy sources said.

* Global shares gained ground on China’s stimulus measures to boost its economy.

* A report from the U.S. Commerce department showed a rise in new orders for U.S.-made goods by the most in nearly 1-1/2 years in December, flattered by robust demand for defence aircraft even as underlying softness remains.

* India’s gold imports in January plunged 48% from a year earlier to their lowest in four months as a rally in local prices to near record highs prompted buyers to curtail purchases, a government source said.

* Burkina Faso’s gold production probably fell slightly last year due partly to security problems and attacks targeting industrial miners, the country’s mines minister said.

* Palladium fell 0.4% to $2,423.50 an ounce, silver inched up 0.1% to $17.60, and platinum fell 0.7% to $956.50.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0145 China Caixin Services PMI Jan 0500 India IHS Markit Svcs PMI Jan 0850 France Markit Serv, Comp PMIs Jan 0855 Germany Markit Services PMI Jan 0855 Germany Markit Comp Final PMI Jan 0900 EU Markit Serv, Comp Final PMIs Jan 0930 UK Reserve Assets Total Jan 1330 US International Trade Dec 1445 US Markit Serv, Comp Final PMIs Jan 1500 US ISM N-Mfg PMI Jan (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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