April 27, 2020 / 3:34 PM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips as hopes of lockdowns easing whet risk appetite

 (Updates prices)
    * Palladium falls as much as 6.7% 
    * Bullion tracking real yields most closely -analyst
    * Gold should remain in demand as a crisis currency
    * Worldwide coronavirus cases approach 3 million
    * For interactive graphic tracking global coronavirus
spread, open
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    By Eileen Soreng
    April 27 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Monday as U.S. Treasury
yields rose and plans by many countries to ease
coronavirus-induced lockdowns whetted investor appetite for
riskier assets, but unprecedented stimulus measures from
governments provided underlying support.
    Spot gold        fell 1% to $1,710.71 per ounce by 1:38 p.m.
EDT (1738 GMT), having earlier dropped as much as 1.3% to
$1,704.45. U.S. gold futures         settled 0.7% lower at
    "While the broader macro backdrop remains supportive for
gold prices in the near term, they're tracking real yields most
closely. U.S. treasury yields are ticking higher this morning
and that has ended up weighing down gold prices," said Standard
Chartered Bank analyst Suki Cooper.      
    "Safe-haven buying has continued to support gold primarily
through ETF inflows and continued retail investor demand ... So
if we see different economies starting to reopen, we might see
some of that safe haven demand starting to ease." 
    Global stock markets gained as investors cheered news that
more countries and U.S. states were looking to ease lockdowns.
    About 2.97 million people have been reported to be infected
by the coronavirus globally and 205,948 have died, according to
a Reuters tally.             
    "Even when the lockdown is lifted, the world will still be
far from any kind of normality. The bigger risk then is economic
collapse," Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note.
    "To counter this, governments around the globe are likely to
continue spending unparalleled sums of money – most of which
will be created by the central banks. Gold should remain in
demand as a crisis currency in this environment, as reflected in
ongoing exchange-traded fund (ETF) inflows."          
    Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures as
it is often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency
    Investors now shift their focus to a U.S. Federal Reserve
meeting ending on Wednesday and a European Central Bank (ECB)
meeting on Thursday as major central banks once again take the
stage as the global economy grapples with blows inflicted by the
COVID-19 outbreak. 
    Elsewhere palladium dropped as much as 6.7% to a near
one-week low of $1,890.13 per ounce. It was last down 4.3% at
$1,937.22 per ounce.
    "Palladium has been pulled between both demand shocks and
supply shocks on the back of COVID-19," Standard Chartered's
Cooper said. 
    "We still expect palladium market to deliver a deficit this
year ... But that deficit is likely to be much smaller than what
we had initially anticipated."
    Platinum        was steady at $759.50 and silver       
eased 0.8% to $15.12. 

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru
Editing by Marguerita Choy and Steve Orlofsky)
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