March 19, 2020 / 10:13 AM / 9 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips as coronavirus-led cash hunt eclipses stimulus measures

 (Updates prices)
    * Dollar hits fresh 3-year high
    * Platinum falls for seventh-straight session
    * Virus spreads to over 212,000 people 
    * GRAPHIC-2020 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

    By Sumita Layek
    March 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell on Thursday, as
investors continued to hunt for cash to guard themselves from
the global economic fallout from the coronavirus, after support
measures from central banks failed to reassure markets.
    Spot gold        was down 0.8% to $1,473.69 per ounce at
1203 GMT, having earlier risen 1%. U.S. gold futures        
shed 0.1% to $1,476.
    "Gold has been left in the dollar's wake as investors rush
to lap up the greenback amid a liquidity crunch and fears that
the global economy is hurtling towards a recession," said FXTM
market analyst Han Tan.
    The dollar reached a fresh three-year high, while European
shares fell.             
    The European Central Bank (ECB) launched a 750 billion euro
($818 billion) emergency bond purchase programme on Wednesday to
push down borrowing costs in a bloc struggling with the economic
fallout of the virus.             
    "Investors are still sceptical over the efficacy of such
stimulus measures because the eventual economic toll of this
coronavirus outbreak remains a large unknown," Tan said.    
    "Considering the heightened travel limitations and other
quarantine measures, global economic activity has clearly been
disrupted ... this points to an increasing risk of a global
recession, which is fuelling the bloodbath in the markets."
    Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation
providing billions of dollars to limit the damage from the
outbreak.             
    The relentless spread of the virus across the world has
triggered panic and sparked a wide sell-off in assets, including
safe-haven bullion.             
    "Eventually, diversification of assets will come, investors
will not hold dollars forever. So, they will be looking to
invest in safe assets and there will come the appeal for gold,"
said Debajit Saha, senior precious metals analyst in GFMS
Refinitiv in India.
    "Until the panic comes down, wild swings will be observed in
all assets. However, after settling down, gold may eventually go
higher as a safe haven."
    Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded
fund, SPDR Gold Trust      , fell 0.7% on Wednesday.          
    Palladium        was down 0.8% to $1,575.66 per ounce after
sliding over 5% earlier in the day, while platinum        lost
4.6% to $595.78, falling for the seventh-straight session.
    Platinum and palladium will remain turbulent in coming
months after huge losses sparked by the spread of coronavirus,
before starting a tentative recovery, analysts said.
            
    Silver        rose 0.2% to $12, but hovered close to an
11-year low hit in the previous session.

 (Reporting by Sumita Layek and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru
Editing by Mark Potter and Frances Kerry)
  
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