Economic data, US stimulus in focus

A mark of 999.9 fine sits on hallmarked one kilogram gold bullion bars at the Valcambi SA precious metal refinery in Lugano, Switzerland, on April 24, 2018.

Stefan Wermuth | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold prices fell on Friday as the dollar firmed, although they remained close to a more than one-week high scaled in the previous session following bleak economic data and a latest round of stimulus in the United States.

Spot gold declined 0.4% to $1,724.04 per ounce by 0029 GMT, having risen as much as 1.5% to a more-than one-week high of $1,738.58 on Thursday. U.S. gold futures gained 0.1% to $1,747.80. The metal’s weekly gain so far stood at 2.4%.

Against key rivals, the U.S. dollar was holding close to a more-than two-week high scaled in the previous session, while Asian equities face a bumpy session on Friday.

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill on Thursday, pushing the total spending response to the crisis to an unprecedented near $3 trillion.

Widespread stimulus measures support gold as it is seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.

European Union leaders agreed on Thursday to build a trillion-euro emergency fund to help recover from the pandemic, avoiding another all-night bust-up but leaving divisive details until the summer.

Global economic activity all but ground to a halt this month as lockdowns took a particularly heavy toll on the world’s service industry, surveys showed on Thursday.

The U.S. Labor Department on Thursday said 4.427 million more people applied for unemployment benefits last week, taking the total since mid-March to 26.5 million.

British consumer confidence held at its lowest since 2009 this month after tumbling in late March, while Japan’s annual core consumer inflation growth rate slowed for the second straight month.

Palladium fell 0.5% to $1,970.18 per ounce and was on track to post its fourth straight weekly decline.

Platinum gained 0.7% to $760.68 an ounce, while silver eased 0.6% to $15.21.

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