May 5, 2020 / 9:50 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold falls as risk appetite improves amid easing lockdowns

 (Updates prices)
    * SPDR Gold holdings rose 0.4% on Monday
    * U.S. ISM non-manufacturing PMI data due later
    * For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread,
 in an external browser

    By Brijesh Patel
    May 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices slipped on Tuesday as the U.S.
dollar strengthened and risk appetite among investors improved
with moves by major economies to ease lockdowns related to the
coronavirus crisis.
    Spot gold        was down 0.3% at $1,696.34 per ounce at
1220 GMT. U.S. gold futures         fell 0.5% to $1,704.40 per
    "The gradual reopening of various economies is the biggest
driver right now which is lifting sentiment. Gold seems to be in
consolidation mode at the moment and very sensitive to dollar
moves," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said.
    "Investors may be a little too optimistic at this point,
underestimating just how gradual a process this will be. The
bullish case for gold still remains the enormous amounts of
monetary stimulus in the system," he added.
    European stocks rose after a batch of positive corporate
earnings reports added to optimism over the curbing of
restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus.      
    Italy and the United States were among several countries to
tentatively ease lockdowns on Monday to revive their economies.
    Further limiting gold's appeal, the dollar index        rose
0.3% against a basket of major currencies.       
    Market participants were also watching rising China-U.S.
tensions after President Donald Trump threatened new tariffs on
China for its handling of the virus outbreak.             
    The pandemic, which has battered global growth and prompted
governments to unleash a wave of fiscal and monetary measures to
limit economic damage, has infected about 3.6 million people
globally and killed more than 250,000.             
    Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures from
central banks because it is widely viewed as a hedge against
inflation and currency debasement.
    "Gold remains as a safe-haven as currencies are being
devalued by massive stimulus programmes introduced by central
banks and governments around the world to alleviate the worst of
the COVID-19 outbreak," Phillip Futures said in note.
    "This has also increased physical demand of gold to hedge
against the debasement of fiat currencies thereby triggering a
huge demand for gold ingots, bars and coins."             
    Indicative of sentiment, holdings in the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust      , rose
0.4% to 1,071.71 tonnes on Monday.          
    The focus now is on the U.S. ISM non-manufacturing PMI data,
due later in Tuesday.
    Elsewhere, palladium        dropped 0.9% to $1,830.91 per
ounce, while platinum        was steady at $765.93 and silver
       shed 0.3% to $14.79.

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Ed Osmond
and Edmund Blair)
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