Gold prices rose sharply on Monday as traders rushed for the safe-haven asset amid an escalation in worries about global growth following reports about the spread of the dreaded coronavirus outside China.
According to Chinese officials, the virus has killed 2,592 people in China and infected 77,150 people.
South Korea has raised its coronavirus alert to the “highest level” for the first time in a decade, following a rapid spike in cases over the weekend. Reports say the total number of cases so far in South Korea has risen to 763.
Italy became Europe’s epicenter for coronavirus cases over the weekend. Iran has confirmed an uptick in infections.
Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo has reportedly decided to close 4 branches in the country as the government imposed strict quarantine restrictions in two northern “hotspot” regions close to Milan and Venice.
Following the move, about 50,000 people cannot enter or leave several towns in Veneto and Lombardy for the next two weeks without special permission.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said it is worried about the growing number of cases without any clear link to China.
The dollar index, which was moving around 99.60 earlier in the day, dropped to 99.11 a little past noon, and is currently at 99.19, down 0.07 from Friday’s close.
Gold futures for April ended up $27.80, or about 1.7%, at $1,676.60 an ounce, hitting a fresh high since February 2013.
The contract touched a high of $1,691.70 earlier in the session, but gave up a substantial portion of gains as the session progressed.
On Friday, gold futures ended up $28.30, or 1.8%, at $1,648.80 an ounce, ending with a weekly gain of about 3.9%, the best monthly returns since June 2019.
Silver futures for March ended up $0.346 at $18.876 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $2.5770 per pound, down $0.0310 from previous close.
Stock markets across the globe tumbled on Monday, with investors indulging in heavy selling across the board. Asian markets ended with sharp losses and the major European markets tumbled as well.
U.S. stocks are currently down with sharp losses, unable to stage any meaningful recovery after a sharp plunge within minutes of commencement of trade this morning.
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