PRECIOUS-Gold poised for a weekly gain as virus fears lift safe-haven demand


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 (Updates prices)
    * Gold on track for a weekly rise
    * U.S. consumer spending slows
    * China reports 121 new deaths and 5,000 new coronavirus
    * Palladium up over 4% for the week so far

    By Diptendu Lahiri
    Feb 14 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose to the highest level in
more than a week on Friday, on track for a weekly gain, as
investors bet on the safe-haven metal to hedge against the
economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
    Spot gold  XAU=  rose 0.5% to $1,583.18 per ounce by 1:43
p.m. EST (1843 GMT), after touching $1,583.76, its highest price
since Feb. 3. For the week, bullion has so far gained about
    U.S. gold futures  GCcv1  settled up 0.5% at $1,586.40.
    "The coronavirus scenario is still unclear and the on-off
headlines on the situation are making the stock markets
volatile, forcing investors to take refuge in safe-haven gold," 
said George Gero, managing director at RBC Wealth Management.
    "Even with the virus gone, gold is expected to trade in the
$1,550-$1,600 range as other uncertainties like lower interest
rates across the major central banks, Middle East tensions and
other political risks still exist."
    Chinese authorities on Thursday reported 121 new deaths and
5,000 new coronavirus cases in mainland China, and economists
scaled back growth expectations for the world's second-largest
economy as they assessed the impact of the outbreak.*:nL4N2AE0RT
    Global stock markets have had a volatile week as investors
took and quit positions in riskier assets driven by the
frequently changing headlines around China's coronavirus
    Wall Street opened slightly higher, with gains kept in check
by concerns about the economic hit from the outbreak.  .N 
    Further supporting gold's rise, U.S. Treasury yields
declined after soft retail sales data amid virus concerns.  US/ 
    U.S. consumer spending appears to have slowed further in
January, which raises concerns about the economy's ability to
continue expanding at a moderate pace.*:nLNSEDEGI5
    "We still target a decline in U.S. Treasury yields, in
addition to dollar weakness from a trade-weighted angle. We
believe this gives gold a good risk-reward even if we see no
further bouts in equity market uncertainty," UBS analysts said
in a note.
    Among other precious metals, palladium  XPD=  fell 0.3% to
$2,417.20 an ounce, but was on track to register its best week
since the week ended Jan. 17, with a gain of more than 4%. 
    Silver  XAG=  rose 0.7% to $17.75 , while platinum  XPT= 
fell 0.3% to $964.53

Precious metals this week png
Precious metals this week interactive
 (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru
Editing by Richard Chang and Matthew Lewis)
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