Gold falls as moves to reopen economies erode appetite for havens

Gold fell as a drumbeat of moves toward reopening economies eroded appetite for havens, with prices sinking below $1 700 an ounce before paring losses as investors counted down to policy announcements from two of the world’s leading central banks.

The precious metal eased for a third day after US equities hit the highest in almost seven weeks as states including Florida took steps toward easing restrictions. Italy, one of the countries hit hardest, prepared to begin reopening, although the World Health Organisation warned the coronavirus pandemic is far from over.

While bullion is still near the highest in more than seven years amid the outbreak, investors are questioning if there’s scope for further gains given the restarts. At the same time, they’re tracking the stimulus by governments and central banks to aid growth, with the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank to make policy announcements on Wednesday and Thursday.

While gold saw some pressure from strength in stocks, "the demand destruction due to Covid-19 cannot be overstated, volatility in financial markets remains elevated and precious metals, especially gold, remain a good hedge," said Avtar Sandu, senior manager for commodities at broker Phillip Futures. Moreover, the rebound of activity may be pushed back, he said.

Spot gold fell as much as 1.3% to $1,692.63 an ounce and traded at $1 702.51 at 8:26 a.m. in London. Prices - which rallied to $1 747.36 on April 14, the highest since 2012 - lost a combined 1% over Monday and Friday.

The drop in prices came after worldwide holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded funds eased on Monday following 25 days of net inflows, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

"The risk sentiment continues to improve as more and more economies make plans to gradually reopen businesses," said Howie Lee, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking. "The Fed and ECB are expected to have little market-moving announcements this week. It will be premature to think the worst is over, though, and for that reason I think gold prices may continue to see support.

In other precious metals, silver and platinum declined, while palladium advanced.

ZAR/USD
17.42
(+0.37)
ZAR/GBP
22.67
(+0.72)
ZAR/EUR
20.50
(+0.17)
ZAR/AUD
12.42
(+0.66)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.86)
Gold
1923.97
(+0.94)
Silver
25.09
(+1.03)
Platinum
923.00
(+0.27)
Brent Crude
44.46
(-1.09)
Palladium
2117.50
(+1.24)
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57339.50
(+0.30)
Top 40
53000.88
(+0.32)
Financial 15
10190.96
(-0.24)
Industrial 25
76334.30
(+1.07)
Resource 10
58393.09
(-0.49)
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