February 6, 2020 / 1:44 AM / 18 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steady as virus fears offset robust U.S. data

Feb 6 (Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed on Thursday as strong U.S. economic data was offset by fears over a rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the global economy.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was flat at $1,556.36 per ounce by 0100 GMT. Prices hit a more than two-week low of $1,546.90 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,559.30.

* Another 73 people on the Chinese mainland died on Wednesday from the virus outbreak, the highest daily increase so far, bringing the total death toll to 563, the country’s health authority said.

* Positive data from the United States such as the rise in January private payrolls and services sector activity, suggested the economy could continue to grow moderately this year.

* The U.S. trade deficit fell for the first time in six years in 2019 as the White House’s trade war with China curbed the import bill.

* Asian stocks edged up after U.S. stocks hit a record peak following encouraging U.S. data, although investors remained wary about the impact from the virus outbreak.

* The dollar held close to a two-month high hit in the previous session, against a basket of rival currencies, on the back of robust U.S. economic data.

* The World Health Organization played down media reports of “breakthrough” drugs being discovered to treat people infected with the new coronavirus.

* The China virus outbreak is adding to global economic uncertainty but its impact may be short term and temporary, limiting the need for policy action, top European Central Bank executives said.

* U.S. President Donald Trump was acquitted on Wednesday in his U.S. Senate impeachment trial, saved by fellow Republicans who rallied to protect him nine months before he asks voters to give him a second White House term.

* Palladium remained unchanged at $2,431.69 an ounce, silver rose 0.4% to $17.67, and platinum edged higher by 0.1% to $982.60. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0615 India Cash Reserve Ratio Feb 6 0615 India Repo Rate Feb 6 0615 India Reverse Repo Rate Feb 6 0700 Germany Industrial Orders MM Dec 1330 US Initial Jobless Claims Weekly (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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