Gold slips as hopes of lockdown easings boost risk appetiteGold slips as hopes of lockdown easings boost risk appetite
FILE PHOTO: Gold rings are seen on display at a goldsmith shop in Kuala Lumpur

By Brijesh Patel

(Reuters) – Gold slipped on Monday as signs that countries may soon ease coronavirus-driven lockdowns lifted risk sentiment, although its losses were limited by hopes of more stimulus measures from major central banks.

Spot gold was down 0.6% at $1,716.33 per ounce by 0954 GMT. U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,735.90.

“We’re seeing a positive trajectory in coronavirus cases in Europe and in the U.S. We are starting to see a lot more talk about economies reopening and trying to get business back to normal as much as possible and that does seem to be lifting sentiment,” OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said.

“This kind of bounce in risk appetite is potentially fuelling profit taking in gold,” he added.

Stock markets rallied as investors cheered news more countries were easing lockdowns and the Bank of Japan added more stimulus to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Various nations, including the United States, are on track to ease certain restrictions and allow businesses to reopen, raising investors’ hopes of higher numbers of testing kits and more drug trials.

Some 2.97 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 205,948 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

“Even when the lockdown is lifted, the world will still be far from any kind of normality. The bigger risk then is economic collapse, as indicated by the disastrous economic indicators virtually everywhere,” Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note.

“To counter this, governments around the globe are likely to continue spending unparalleled sums of money – most of which will be created by the central banks. Gold should remain in demand as a crisis currency in this environment, as reflected in ongoing exchange-traded fund (ETF) inflows.”

Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures as it is often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.

Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed ETF, SPDR Gold Trust, rose 0.6% to 1,048.31 tonnes on Friday.

In the latest effort to control economic damage from the virus, the Bank of Japan pledged to buy unlimited amounts of government bonds and sharply raise purchases of corporate and commercial debt.

Markets participants now await meetings of the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank later in the week.

Among other precious metals, palladium dropped 1.1% to $2,003.72 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.3% to $762.33 and silver eased 0.2% to $15.22.

(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton)