May 1, 2020 / 10:27 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold set for worst week in six as economies look to reopen

 (Updates prices)
    * Gold down about 3% so far this week
    * Palladium eyes 5th straight weekly drop
    * For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread,
 in an external browser

    By Brijesh Patel
    May 1 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower in holiday-thinned trade
on Friday as optimism over economies easing coronavirus
lockdowns prompted investors to book profits, keeping bullion on
track for its worst week in more than a month.
    Spot gold        was down 0.1% at $1,678.31 per ounce at 
1152 GMT. Bullion has fallen nearly 3% so far this week, its
biggest weekly loss since mid March.
    U.S. gold futures        fell 0.3% to $1,689.60. Most
markets were closed for Labour Day in Europe and Asia.
    "People are taking profits before the weekend because many
countries plan to reopen their economies, which is negative for
gold over the short term," said Stephen Innes, chief market
strategist at financial services firm AxiCorp.
    "However, gold's narrative has not been changed much. We are
in for a gloomy run of economic data over the next few months
and the central banks will continue to ease, including the U.S.
Federal Reserve, which opens up gold to go higher."
    Gold is seen as a safe haven during times of economic
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to set out a plan next
week on how Britain might start gradually returning to normal
    Half of all U.S. states forged ahead with their strategies
for easing restrictions on restaurants, retail and other
businesses in hopes of reviving virus-stricken commerce.
    "The virus is far from over, but the wave of positive news
had taken some air out of gold's wings," said Edward Moya, a
senior market analyst at broker OANDA.
    The pandemic, which has battered global growth, has infected
 more than 3.2 million people globally and killed more than
    Yet more dismal data out of the United States underscored
the deep economic impact of the virus, with 30.3 million
Americans filing for unemployment benefits since March 21, amid
a record collapse in consumer spending in March.             
    Central banks and governments around the world have
announced massive fiscal and monetary measures to limit economic
damage caused by the virus outbreak and restrictions put in
place to curtail its spread.
    Gold also tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures
as it's often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency
    "On the technical side, gold is now trading near the key
support level of $1,675 and a clear break of this would be a
negative signal, with potential space for further falls to
$1,630," ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said in
a note.
    Palladium        fell 1.3% to $1,935.32 per ounce, on track
for its fifth straight weekly decline.
    Platinum        was down 1% at $764.18 per ounce, silver
       shed 1.1% to $14.85.

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan
Fenton and Mark Potter)
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