May 5, 2020 / 4:25 AM / 21 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips as virus-led curbs ease; tariff worries persist

 (Updates prices)
    * Focus on U.S. ISM non-manufacturing PMI data due later
    * For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread,
open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7
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    By K. Sathya Narayanan
    May 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices slipped on Tuesday as moves by
some countries to relax coronavirus-led restrictions
overshadowed concerns of souring U.S.-China relations, dampening
its safe-haven appeal.
    Spot gold        declined 0.4% to $1,695.29 per ounce by
0736 GMT. U.S. gold futures         fell 0.7% to $1,700.90.
    "We are holding quite steady around the $1,700 level. On one
side, you've got easing in lockdowns and that is probably
improving investor sentiment and a move away from safe havens
towards risk assets," said ING analyst Warren Patterson. 
    "On the other side, tensions between China and the U.S. in
relation to COVID-19 are re-igniting once again. These two
opposing forces are keeping the market on hold at the moment."
    Italy and the United States were among a slew of countries
that tentatively eased lockdowns on Monday to revive their
economies.                        
    Investors, however, remained worried about brewing Sino-U.S.
tensions after President Donald Trump threatened new tariffs on
China for its handling of the outbreak, with his administration
"turbocharging" an initiative to remove global industrial supply
chains from Beijing.             
    Gold, which is considered an alternative asset during times
of economic and political turmoil, rose 18% last year due to the
tariff war and interest rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
    It has gained nearly 12% so far this year as the Fed kept
its benchmark rate at near zero and pumped trillions in
emergency funding into U.S. financial markets. Other central
banks and countries have also taken similar measures to prop up
their virus-hit economies.
    The widespread stimulus measures will be gold's longer-term
tailwind, analysts said, as the metal is considered as a hedge
against inflation and currency debasement.
    Meanwhile, investors awaited U.S. ISM non-manufacturing PMI
data, due later in the day, and weekly jobless claims and April
non-farm payrolls numbers scheduled for later this week.
    "The consensus is for very bad numbers ... the main catalyst
for gold here is the extent to which they can surprise lower or
higher. The data should really deviate from expectations to
really animate gold one way or the other," DailyFx currency
strategist Ilya Spivak said.
    Reflecting the appetite for bullion, holdings in the world's
largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust      ,
rose 0.4% to 1,071.71 tonnes on Monday.           
    Among other metals, palladium        rose 0.5% to $1,857.24
per ounce, while platinum        eased 0.4% to $763.11 and
silver        slipped 0.4% to $14.78.

 (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu, Anil D'Silva and Uttaresh.V)
  
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