Gold Set for Weekly Fall as Europe Readies to Ease Lockdowns

(Bloomberg) — Gold headed for its largest weekly decline in seven weeks as European nations, including the U.K., offered cautious signals they’ve passed through the peak of the coronavirus outbreak and as U.S. cases rose at the slowest pace this month.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country was through the worst of the virus and pledged to deliver plans to lift the lockdown, while Italy, France and Germany all also outlined proposals to gradually ease restrictions. The European Central Bank stepped up its response to the coronavirus crisis by cutting funding costs for banks, but refrained from boosting its bond-buying program.

“Demand for safe haven assets took a further dive” after Johnson’s virus comments Thursday in the U.K., Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. economist Kishti Sen said Friday in a note. Asian trading was limited Friday, with much of the region out on holidays.

Spot gold was steady at $1,687.29 an ounce as of 12:07 p.m. in Sydney, after falling 1.6% Thursday. The metal was headed for its biggest weekly decline since March 13.

In other precious metals, silver rose 0.2%, while platinum and palladium were both lower.

Industrial metals declined for a second day after gloomy economic data, including deepening job losses in the U.S., and plunging U.S. personal spending data. Initial jobless claims in the U.S. totaled 3.84 million in the week ended April 25, sending the six-week total above 30 million.

Copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped as much as 1.6% to $5,105 a ton after a 1.4% decline Thursday. Aluminum in London was 0.6% lower.

There’s concern over the impact for base metals from weaker overseas demand for China’s exports, while aluminum also is contending with rising stockpiles and sluggish demand, ANZ’s Sen said.

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