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Gold set for biggest weekly gain since Oct 2011 as fears mount over virus impact

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Gold rose on Friday, on track to post its biggest weekly gain since October 2011, over fears that the global coronavirus outbreak could deal a hard blow to the world economy.

[BENGALURU] Gold rose on Friday, on track to post its biggest weekly gain since October 2011, over fears that the global coronavirus outbreak could deal a hard blow to the world economy.

Spot gold was up 0.1 per cent to US$1,671.73 per ounce by 0640 GMT, having risen more than 2 per cent in the previous session.

US gold futures rose 0.3 per cent to US$1,673.30.

"Gold is moving higher because markets are expecting further cuts and the ongoing risk-aversion right now as (wider) markets are concerned," said DailyFx currency strategist Ilya Spivak.

"The biggest thing here is how worried do markets remain about this coronavirus impact."

The metal has gained as much as 5.8 per cent so far this week as worries over the coronavirus sent investors scurrying for safe-havens, with the US Federal Reserve issuing an emergency 50 basis point interest rate cut on Tuesday.

Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

"We've seen a consistent switch out of equities into gold as a consequence of the worsening macro backdrop, and that's something gold will continue to see in the foreseeable future," ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said.

Asian stocks on Friday tumbled following Wall Street, while US 10-year Treasury yields fell to a record low, sending the US dollar to a two-month low against key rivals.

Globally, there have been over 98,000 cases and more than 3,300 deaths from the coronavirus.

Mainland China, where the virus was discovered in late 2019, reported 143 new confirmed cases of infection on Thursday.

The wide-spread epidemic has forced many cities and countries to temporarily close industrial operations, while travel restrictions have weighed on service sectors.

The epidemic poses "evolving risks" to the US economy and US central bank officials are monitoring developments closely, New York Federal Reserve President John Williams said on Thursday.

Palladium fell 0.7 per cent to US$2,515.85 per ounce.

"Palladium continues to outperform platinum but we also (have) the issue around industrial demand from the auto sector, which is being hit pretty hard at the moment," ANZ's Mr Hynes said.

The autocatalyst metal slumped as much as 13 per cent on Feb 28, after hitting an all-time high of US$2,875.50 the day before due to a stark supply shortfall. Silver was down 0.5 per cent to US$17.32 an ounce, while platinum slid 1.1 per cent to US$854.72.

REUTERS