Gold gains as coronavirus raises policy-easing chances for central banks

rose nearly 1 per cent on Monday after suffering its largest daily fall in nearly seven years, as expectations grew for policy easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks to help boost the coronavirus-hit global economy.

Spot was up 0.4 per cent at $1,591.84 an ounce by 1:40 p.m. EST (1840 GMT), and U.S. futures settled 1.8 per cent higher at $1,594.80.=>

On Friday, the precious metals market was routed by traders liquidating their positions amidst a coronavirus-led selloff across global markets, with gold diving as much as 4.5 per cent.

“We are seeing a little bit of recovery from late last week, (when) there was lot of selling to generate liquidity and cover margins,” said Ryan McKay, a commodity strategist at TD Securities.

“There are lot of expectations on interest rate cuts from the Fed, and also cuts from other global central banks … offering very good support.”

The U.S. central bank will “act as appropriate” to support the economy on the backdrop of the virus outbreak, Chair Jerome Powell said on Friday.

Futures now imply a full 50 basis-point rate cut at the Fed’s March 18 monetary policy meeting.

Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and also weigh on U.S. yields and the dollar.

The world economy is set to grow only 2.4 per cent this year, the lowest rate since 2009, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development stated on Monday.

Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at financial services firm AxiCorp, said the negative correlation between the U.S. currency and gold has reappeared since the dollar’s safe-haven appeal has faded.

The dollar index slid on bets that the Fed is likely to ease policy, while implied yields on the U.S. 10-year Treasury futures traded below 1 per cent for the first time.

Palladium slipped 2.9 per cent to $2,519.39 an ounce, having plunged as much as 13 per cent on Friday, the most since the 2008 financial crisis.=>

Platinum dipped 0.6 per cent to $858.42, while silver rose 0.3 per cent to $16.72, after both fell to their lowest levels in about six months in the previous session.=>=>

Platinum is on track to end lower for an eighth straight session.

“Car sales growth is an important driver for the platinum price, particularly sales in Europe,” said UBS commodities analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

“The falling share of newly sold diesel cars (which use platinum in their catalytic converters) in Europe is another drag on the white metal.”