Gold slides on hopes of recovery in economic growthGold slides on hopes of recovery in economic growth
FILE PHOTO: A Saudi jeweller wearing a protective face mask arranges gold jewels at a jewellery store during the holy month of Ramadan, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh

By Swati Verma

(Reuters) – Gold fell on Thursday on hopes of a swift recovery in growth following easing of lockdowns and possibility of a coronavirus vaccine, but bleak data from major economies limited losses.

Spot gold slid 0.7% to $1,737.35 per ounce by 0625 GMT. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.8% to $1,738.80.

Global equities surged overnight, though gains during Asian hours were limited by lingering caution about the long-term impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

“There is still some optimism and risk-on sentiment about the possibility of a vaccine and talks of lockdown easing and growth slowly picking up,” said National Australia Bank economist John Sharma.

“But it not a huge thing and if it was major, we would see gold going below $1,700.”

Gold rallied to its highest since October 2012 on Monday, driven by economic damage concerns, U.S.-China tensions and massive monetary and fiscal stimulus.

U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers acknowledged the possibility of further support measures if the economic downturn persists, the minutes from the latest policy meeting showed.

The latest round of dismal economic indicators have underscored the extent of damage inflicted by the virus, with data showing Britain’s inflation slumped to its lowest since 2016.

The initial U.S. jobless claims data due later in the day will be the next focus for further clues about the health of the world’s top economy.

Palladium dropped 2.2% to $2,055.14 an ounce, having hit a one-month high on Wednesday. Platinum fell 1.1% to $841.37.

ANZ analysts expect weaker auto sales to be the key downside risk for the platinum group metals this year and see demand contracting for both palladium and platinum.

“Mine supply disruptions could protect the downside; still we see prices staying volatile amid the ongoing macroeconomic challenges,” they said.

Silver declined 2.2% to $17.12 an ounce.

(Reporting by Swati Verma and K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Rashmi Aich)