April 16, 2020
Gold eases on stronger dollar, dire economic outlook caps losses
(Reuters) - Gold prices edged lower on Thursday as the dollar firmed and investors booked profits, but losses were capped as dour retail sales and manufacturing data out of the United States heightened fears of a steep global recession due to the new coronavirus.
Spot gold slipped 0.1% to $1,714.55 per ounce by 0302 GMT. The metal had settled 0.7% lower on Wednesday, snapping four straight sessions of gains.
U.S. gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,743.30 per ounce.
There is a lot of profit-taking but the overall upward trend has not changed, said Avtar Sandu, senior commodities manager at Phillip Futures.
"If you look at the bigger picture, (economic) data is bad,which means you get another few more rounds of quantitative easing, and central banks would definitely keep interest rates low in this weak environment," he said.
U.S. retail sales suffered a record drop in March and output at factories declined by the most since 1946, raising concerns that the economy contracted in the first quarter at its sharpest pace in decades as measures to control the spread of the virus weighed.
Japanese business confidence plunged to fresh decade lows in April, while British retail spending slumped by more than a quarter during the first two weeks of lockdown measures.
Governments and central banks around the world have unleashed unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus and other support for economies floored by the pandemic.
Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. Gold also tends to benefit from widespread stimulus from central banks, as it is often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.
World stock markets fell, while bonds and the dollar held on to hefty gains, after a coronavirus-driven plunge in U.S. retail sales and factory production and increasing gloomy economic outlooks for Asia.
Indicative of investors' appetite for gold, holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust , rose 0.4% to 1,021.69 tonnes on Wednesday.
Palladium gained 1.6% to $2,214.48 an ounce, while silver slipped 0.7% to $15.36 per ounce and platinum fell 0.4% to $776.67 an ounce.