(Updates prices) * China's factory activity improves in March * SPDR Gold Trust Holdings up 0.3% * Global death toll from coronavirus over 38,000 By Asha Sistla April 1 (Reuters) - Gold rose more than 1% on Wednesday as fears over a worsening coronavirus pandemic triggered a flight to safety, with expectations of further monetary easing by central banks adding support. Spot gold was up 1.4% at $1,592.83 per ounce by 0730 GMT, having slumped 3.1% in the previous session on a strong dollar. U.S. gold futures gained 0.5% at $1,604.50. "Investors may be shifting to gold for safety," said CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang Yan, who saw the rebound spurred by President Donald Trump's remarks that the next two weeks of the pandemic could be painful for the United States. "The ramification of easing monetary policy cycle and trillion dollars of stimulus means the market will be full of liquidity and ample supply of paper money in months, quarters or years to come, and that's definitely supporting gold's rally amid very limited supply (of physical bullion)." Gold is considered an attractive investment during times of political or economic uncertainty. It is highly sensitive to interest rates, as lower rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding bullion. The Federal Reserve on Tuesday broadened the ability of dozens of foreign central banks to access U.S. dollars during the crisis by allowing them to exchange their holdings of U.S. Treasury securities for overnight dollar loans. Limiting physical gold's supply, three of the world's largest gold refineries said they had suspended production in Switzerland for at least a week after local authorities ordered the closure of non-essential industry. Russia has also stopped gold purchases. In equities, Asian stocks clung to gains, supported by positive China PMI data, but risks remain large as the pandemic rattles the underpinnings of the global economy. "The tentative signs of improvement in data from China has given some renewed confidence to the region ... expect that to support both equity and gold prices in Asia this morning," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA. Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.3% to 967 tonnes on Tuesday. Palladium slid 1.6% to $2,314.80 per ounce, platinum fell 0.6% to $717.66 and silver edged 0.1% higher at $13.99. (Reporting by Asha Sistla and K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V, Subhranshu Sahu and Vinay Dwivedi)
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