Gold. Picture: REUTERS
Gold. Picture: REUTERS

Bengaluru — Gold prices eased on Tuesday as the dollar held firm after a US manufacturing survey showed a surprise rebound, though rising concerns about a widening coronavirus outbreak in China and its economic fallout provided some support to the metal.

Spot gold was down 0.1% to $1,575.27 an ounce by 1.55am GMT, after a 0.9% drop in the previous session. US gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,579.50.

China has agreed to allow US health experts into the country as part of a World Health Organisation effort to help fight the fast-spreading coronavirus, as the number of cases and deaths continued to mount.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China rose to 425 as of the end of Monday, up by 64 from the previous day, the country’s national health commission said.

The dollar held firm against a basket of rival currencies after gaining 0.4% in the previous session, its biggest percentage rise in a month.

US factory activity rebounded in January after contracting for five straight months amid a surge in new orders, a report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed, offering hope that a prolonged slump in business investment has probably bottomed out.

Asian stocks were fragile as cautious investors awaited further stimulus to boost China’s economy due to the onslaught of coronavirus over the past few days.

China’s central bank flooded the economy with cash while trimming some lending rates, but analysts suspect more will have to be done to offset the economic fallout from the virus.

With inflation stable and the US economy close to full employment, the Federal Reserve will be able to keep interest rates where they are for the time being, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Raphael Bostic said on Monday.

The Perth Mint’s sales of gold coins and minted bars in January dived 38.8% to 48,299 ounces month on month, but were up 54.9% from last year.

Palladium rose 0.5% to $2,331.19 an ounce, silver was flat at $17.66, and platinum edged higher by 0.1% to $967.01.


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