Coronavirus, easing lockdown measures in focus

An Argor-Heraeus SA branded two hundred and fifty gram gold bar, center, sits in this arranged photograph at Solar Capital Gold Zrt. in Budapest, Hungary.

Akos Stiller | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold prices slipped on Tuesday as risk sentiment was lifted by easing coronavirus restrictions, while brewing tensions between the United States and China over the outbreak kept the safe-haven metal near the key $1,700 per ounce level.

Spot gold fell 0.1% to $1,699.56 per ounce by 0133 GMT. U.S. gold futures were down 0.5% to $1,705.50 per ounce.

A late Wall Street rally helped Asian stocks trade higher after tech shares and oil rose on easing coronavirus restrictions and prospects of an economic recovery, overcoming  concerns about renewed China-U.S. trade tensions.

Italy and the United States were among a slew of countries tentatively easing coronavirus lockdowns on Monday to revive  economies as global deaths surpassed a quarter of a million. 

The Trump administration is “turbocharging” an initiative to remove global industrial supply chains from China as it weighs new tariffs to punish Beijing for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, according to officials familiar with U.S. planning.

An internal Chinese report warns that Beijing faces a rising wave of hostility in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that could tip relations with the United States into confrontation, people familiar with the paper told Reuters.

New orders for U.S.-made goods suffered a record decline in March and could sink further as disruptions from the novel coronavirus fracture supply chains and depress exports.

Big central banks are buying from an expanding menu of government bonds, corporate debt and consumer loans to help businesses and households through the pandemic — and no one knows whether they can stop. 

Two of the world’s biggest gold refiners, Valcambi and Argor-Heraeus, are restoring almost all operations after Switzerland relaxed lockdown measures, they said on Monday. 

SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.4% to 1,071.71  tonnes on Monday from 1,067.90 tonnes on Friday.

Palladium gained 0.5% to $1,857.50 per ounce.

Platinum slipped 0.1% to $764.91 an ounce, while silver fell 0.2% to $14.81 per ounce.

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