June 4, 2020 / 10:30 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rises on bargain hunting, focus on U.S. payrolls data

* ECB beefs up its bond-buying programme

* Markets awaiting U.S. payrolls report on Friday

* For an interactive graphic tracking the global coronavirus spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser (Adds comments, details, updates prices)

By K. Sathya Narayanan

June 4 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Thursday as investors took advantage of the previous session’s steep price decline to buy the metal, with markets awaiting the release of Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls data for May.

Spot gold rose 0.9% to $1,713.37 per ounce by 1249 GMT. U.S. gold futures climbed 0.8% to $1,719.10.

“There are quite a few market participants still bargain-hunting gold given the fundamental backdrop of the coronavirus crisis and ongoing recession,” Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said.

Gold fell 1.7% on Wednesday, its biggest daily drop since end-April, as global equities climbed on expectations of a recovery in the world economy.

However, investors are still waiting to see whether the easing of restrictions will lead to a second wave of infections, supporting demand for gold, Menke added.

The metal rose to a more than seven-year high last month, helped by a wave of stimulus measures from global central banks and lower interest rates. It is often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.

The European Central Bank on Thursday beefed up its bond-buying program.

“(The) long-term picture for gold remains quite good,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said, adding that bullion is holding well despite the recent rally in equities, with gold-backed exchange-traded funds seeing strong demand.

Holdings in the world’s largest gold-backed ETF, SPDR Gold Trust, rose to 1,133.37 tonnes on Wednesday, the highest since April 2013.

Elsewhere, palladium fell 0.8% to $1,934.02 an ounce, while platinum rose 1% to $833.91. Silver was up 0.5% to $17.76, having hit a more than three-month high of $18.36 on Monday.

“Some people are buying silver just because it’s much cheaper than gold (or) platinum,” a trader from Tokyo-based retailer Tokuriki Honten said. (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter and Jan Harvey)

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