Gold eases, despite big weekly gains


Gold fell on Friday on caution ahead of the weekend, but prices were set to post their biggest weekly gain since 2008 as economic damage expected from the coronavirus boosted bullion’s safe-haven appeal.

Platinum and palladium were on track for their biggest weekly gains on record on supply concerns arising from a lockdown in major producer South Africa.

Spot gold fell 0.2 per cent to $US1,625.16 per ounce.

US gold futures settled 1.5per cent lower at $US1,625.80 per ounce.

“A sell-off in US equities has weighed in on all asset classes again leading to a series of margin call pressure on precious metals,” said Phil Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago.

Wall Street shares fell as fears about the economic damage from the pandemic returned.

“Gold has tied itself with the equity markets,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

“There are so many unknowns heading into the weekend, and though gold is a safety asset, there is just a reluctance to add risk-on.”

Gold had already gained more than 8.0 per cent for week, supported by the biggest-ever jump in US weekly jobless claims, and the US Federal Reserve’s unprecedented economic stimulus measures.

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid bill.

“The market is looking to assess the impact of numerous lockdowns and business closures on the economy,” Standard Chartered Bank analyst Suki Cooper said in a note.

“Gold prices have gained further ground in anticipation of further stimulus and weaker data to come.”

“Price risks remain to the upside barring profit-taking and (we) expect prices to average $US1,725 per ounce in Q2-2020,” she said.

Gold market participants also kept a close eye on physical supply as virus-led lockdowns stalled supply chains.

CME Group announced the initial listing of enhanced delivery gold futures that will be deliverable in 100-ounce bars, 400-ounce bars, or kilo bars, effective April 6.

Physical gold dealers struggled to meet surging safe-haven demand, especially in Singapore, as the pandemic choked global supply chains, while massive discounts were offered in India amid a lockdown.

Elsewhere, palladium fell 3.2 per cent to $US2,255.81 per ounce, but had risen over 36 per cent so far for the week.

Platinum rose 0.6 per cent to $US740.47, and had gained about 21 per cent for the week.

Silver fell 0.2 per cent to $US14.36, but was heading for its largest weekly gain since 2008.

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