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Gold eases on profit-taking, but poised for best week in 11 years

Friday,   27-Mar-2020   10:08 AM (IST)

Gold eased on Friday as some investors booked profits after prices hit a two-week high in the last session amid hopes for further stimulus to curb the coronavirus' economic toll, but the metal was headed for its best weekly gain in more than 11 years. Spot gold slipped 0.5% to $1,621.07 per ounce by 0035 GMT, having risen to its highest since March 12 on Thursday. The metal was up 8.2% for the week, its biggest since December 2008, on weak U.S. unemployment data and the Federal Reserve's unprecedented economic stimulus measures. U.S. gold futures fell 0.8% to $1,638.80. Asian stocks rose as investors wagered policymakers will roll out additional stimulus measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak after U.S. unemployment filings surged to a record. The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits surged to a record of over 3 million last week as strict measures to contain the virus brought the country to a sudden halt. The U.S. House of Representatives Speaker said she expected the chamber to pass an estimated $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill when it meets on Friday, after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the unprecedented economic rescue legislation on Wednesday evening.  Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies pledged on Thursday to inject over $5 trillion into the global economy to limit job and income losses from the coronavirus and "do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic."  The British government will pay grants to self-employed people who have lost their livelihoods because of the virus lockdown, further extending an unprecedented package of measures to prevent the economy from collapsing.  European Union leaders failed to agree on Thursday on the scale of support for their economies battered by the virus, but gave themselves two more weeks to work out details, while the European Central Bank has ditched a cap on how many bonds it can buy from any single euro zone  country. China's net gold imports via Hong Kong fell 51.1% in February, compared with the previous month, as the epidemic stalled activity in the country, data showed.  SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.46% to 953.54 tonnes on Thursday. Palladium gained 0.2% to $2,335.33 per ounce, platinum slipped 0.5% to $732.21, while silver eased 0.2% to $14.35.