Gold granulate is seen at a plant of gold refiner and bar manufacturer Valcambi in the southern Swiss town of Balerna. Analysts are concerned over the possibility of central banks selling gold to buy dollars amid a strengthening greenback. Picture: REUTERS/MICHAEL BUHOLZER
Gold granulate is seen at a plant of gold refiner and bar manufacturer Valcambi in the southern Swiss town of Balerna. Analysts are concerned over the possibility of central banks selling gold to buy dollars amid a strengthening greenback. Picture: REUTERS/MICHAEL BUHOLZER

Bengaluru — Gold prices fell on Monday as investors stockpiled cash, with a rising numbers of coronavirus-led national lockdowns threatening to overshadow stimulus measures from global central banks to combat the economic damage.

Spot gold slipped 0.2% to $1,494.63 per ounce by 5.20am, after rising as much as 3.1% in the previous session on a wave of stimulus. US gold futures climbed 0.8% to $1,496.70 per ounce.

“The overall concern here is how much more gold do investors need to sell to cover living expenses — it’s a psychological thing where people continue to sell for cash,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at financial services firm AxiCorp.

Another concern is the possibility of central banks having to sell gold to buy dollars as the greenback continues to strengthen, he added. The dollar held near a three-year high against major currencies as fresh declines in global stocks and worries about tightening liquidity amid the worsening crisis accelerated the flight to cash.

Asian shares sank as a rising tide of lockdowns threatened to overwhelm policymakers’ frantic efforts to cushion what is likely to be a deep global recession. The US Federal Reserve continued to roll out emergency support on Friday as it enhanced efforts with other major central banks to ease a global dollar-funding crunch.

Market participants are counting on further policy easing in the next few days as the US Senate mulls a $1-trillion package that would include direct financial help for Americans. Airlines cancelled more flights as Australia and New Zealand advised against non-essential domestic travel, the United Arab Emirates halted flights for two weeks, and Singapore and Taiwan banned foreign transit passengers.

Meanwhile, nearly one in three Americans were ordered to stay home to slow the spread of the disease, while Italy banned internal travel as deaths there reached 5,476 and China reported 46 new cases on Sunday that were mostly imported from overseas. The global death toll from the coronavirus exceeded over 14,000 with more than 300,000 infections.

Hedge funds and money managers reduced their bullish positions on Comex gold contracts in the week to March 17, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

Among other precious metals, palladium rose 0.4% to $1,648.14 per ounce, platinum jumped 1.9% to $622.56 and silver edged higher by 0.3% to $12.61.

Reuters