(Reuters) - Gold prices rose nearly 3% on Monday, following a steep decline in the previous session, as the dollar and global equities fell sharply after the U.S. Federal Reserve made another surprise interest rate cut.
* Spot gold was up 1.4% at $1,550.26 per ounce by 0030 GMT, having risen as much as 2.8% earlier. The metal fell 3% on Friday.
* U.S. gold futures rose 2.4% to $1,553.30 per ounce.
* The Fed slashed rates back to near zero, restarted bond buying and joined other central banks to ensure liquidity in dollar lending to help put a floor under a rapidly disintegrating global economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
* Stock markets and the dollar fell heavily, after emergency rate cuts in the United States and New Zealand failed to allay fears about the coronavirus’ economic shock.
* New Zealand’s central bank slashed interest rates by 75 basis points to a record low following an emergency meeting as it prepared for a “significant” hit to the economy from the virus.
* Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
* The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell, resuming its march towards an all-time low touched last week.
* European Union finance ministers plan to agree on Monday on a coordinated economic response to the epidemic, with the European Commission forecasting the effects of the virus could push the EU into a recession.
* Manufacturing in Britain weakened sharply in early 2020 even before concerns about the virus crisis escalated, adding urgency to the need for a trade deal with the European Union, an industry survey showed.
* Physical gold markets in major Asian hubs last week reeled from the impact of the outbreak and dealers offered deeper discounts in top consumer China.
* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 1.33% to 931.59 tonnes on Friday.
* Speculators reduced their bullish positions on COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to March 10, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.
* Palladium fell 3.1% to $1,750.50 per ounce, while platinum slipped 0.8% to $755.50.
* Silver gained 0.7% to $14.78 per ounce.
Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru