Gold. Picture: REUTERS
Gold. Picture: REUTERS

Bengaluru — Gold prices edged up on Monday as demand for the safe-haven metal rose due to worries over the economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic, but gains were capped by a firm dollar and stronger equities.

Spot gold edged higher by 0.1% to $1,617.75 per ounce by 6.44am, after rising as much as 0.8% in the previous session.

US gold futures were down 0.4% at $1,639.40.

The coronavirus, which emerged in China late in 2019, has turned into a global pandemic that has claimed more than 65,000 lives and paralysed large swathes of the global economy.

“Gold is looking pretty good today … it is picking up more on safe-haven demand,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at financial services firm AxiCorp.

There are expectations that the dollar is unlikely to stay strong and underlying economic conditions are bad, “so gold traders aren’t going to get sucked into short covering on equities”, Innes added.

The dollar rose to a more than one-week high against key rivals, making gold costlier for investors holding other currencies.

Asian equities followed gains in US stock futures as investors were encouraged by a slowdown in coronavirus-related deaths and new cases.

A top official at the US Federal Reserve said on Sunday the $2.3-trillion economic relief bill approved by Congress is appropriately sized and that a further relief effort may not be needed if support efforts are well executed.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will declare a state of emergency over the pandemic as early as Tuesday, the Yomiuri newspaper reported, as the number of infections topped 1,000 in the capital, Tokyo.

“If Japan moves away from monetary policy and starts rebasing currency by giving people a lot of money, that will be bullish for gold,” said Innes.

Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose 0.7% to 978.99 tonnes on Friday — the highest in more than three years.

“From a long-term standpoint, gold will still remain the preferred asset as the environment of low interest rates and virus-induced global slowdown would support a prolonged rally,” said Sugandha Sachdeva, vice-president of metals, energy and currency research at Religare Broking.

Easing supply constraints for physical gold, three of the world’s biggest gold refineries said they would partially reopen after a two-week closure that disrupted global supply.

Palladium slipped 0.1% to $2,185.93 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.5% to $723.72 and silver fell 0.3% to $14.34.

Reuters