March 13, 2020 / 1:59 AM / 16 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold set for biggest weekly drop in nearly 7 years in virus-led sell-off

    March 13 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell further on Friday and
were on track to post their biggest weekly drop in nearly seven
years, as a rout in global equities forced investors to cover
margin calls.     
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was down 0.9% to $1,562.30 an ounce by
0139 GMT, after a more than 3% sell-off in the previous session.
   For the week, it was down about 6.7% - the biggest since June
2013.
    * U.S. gold futures        fell 1.7% to $1,563.10.
    * A significant sell-off in equities would place further
pressure on gold as investors would liquidate positions to meet
margin calls, ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said.
    * "However, the market is relatively long and there are no
signs of investors getting bearish," he said.     
    * Asia's stock markets were hammered as panic gripping world
financial markets deepened and even safe-haven assets were
ditched to cover losses in the wipeout.            
    * The International Monetary Fund on Thursday urged
countries to work together in responding to the rapidly
spreading outbreak, and called for more donations to help the
poorest countries deal with the escalating pandemic.
                        
    * The European Central Bank approved fresh stimulus measures
to help the euro zone economy cope with the growing cost of the
epidemic, but kept interest rates unchanged.             
    * U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi told
reporters that lawmakers and the White House had neared
agreement on a legislative response to the outbreak and said she
hoped to make an announcement on Friday.             
    * The Federal Reserve moved to stem a market meltdown on
Thursday with offers of $1.5 trillion in short-term loans that
some analysts say could point to more aggressive action from the
central bank in coming days to stimulate the economy.
            
    * Airlines appealed for urgent government financial support
as U.S. carriers rushed to cut flights to Europe in the wake of
new U.S. travel restrictions.             
    * Palladium        rose 1.4% to $1,856.88 per ounce, having
fallen about 20% in the previous session, while platinum       
gained 0.1% to $763.72. Both the metals were, however, headed
for their biggest weekly decline on record.
    * Silver        fell 2.4% to $15.44 per ounce.
    
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 
0700 Germany HICP Final YY           Feb
1400 U.S.    U Mich Sentiment Prelim March    

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