Gold Prices Inch Lower In Cautious Trade

Gold prices fell on profit taking Friday after rising about 1 percent in the previous session on mounting concerns over the rapid spread of coronavirus and expectations of rate cuts by major central banks.

Spot gold declined 0.6 percent to $1,632.49 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were down half a percent at $1,633.60 per ounce.

Equity markets continued to plunge deeper into correction territory, as more coronavirus cases have been reported outside China, spurring concerns that a global recession is on the horizon.

The British economy, which relies to a large extent on tourism revenues and manufacturing, is already seeing the impact, the outgoing Bank of England governor Mark Carney told Sky News.

The head of the World Health Organization warned the deadly epidemic was now at a “decisive point” and has the potential to become a pandemic.

China’s National Health Commission reported 327 new confirmed cases and 44 new deaths as of Thursday. South Korea confirmed an additional 256 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s total to 2,022.

Japan is closing schools to limit the spread of the outbreak. “I’m aware of views that if the virus spreads, it could have a huge impact on the economy,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament.

Germany reportedly quarantined around 1,000 people at home in the west town of Heinsberg.

Italy, Iran and Kuwait have reported more infections, while Nigeria confirmed its first case. Saudi Arabia banned foreign pilgrims entering the country to prevent the spread of the deadly virus in the Kingdom.

In the U.S., California Governor Gavin Newsom said 33 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and the state is currently monitoring at least 8,400 others.

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