PRECIOUS-Gold jumps as record U.S. jobless claims lift safe-haven demand


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 (Updates prices)
    * U.S. weekly jobless claims top 6 million
    * SPDR Gold Trust holdings hit highest since October 2016
    * Interactive graphic tracking the global spread- open
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    By Sumita Layek
    April 2 (Reuters) - Gold prices jumped over 1% on Thursday,
as record high U.S. jobless claims for a second week in a row
intensified fears of economic damage due to the coronavirus and
drove investors towards the safe-haven metal.    
    Spot gold  XAU=  gained 1.3% to $1,610.68 per ounce by 1:31
p.m. EDT (1731 GMT), while U.S. gold futures  GCcv1  settled
2.9% higher at $1,637.70.
    "The reality of that (jobless claims numbers) setting in
along with the equities starting to turn lower, you get some
fresh rounds of safe-haven buying in gold," said Bob Haberkorn,
senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
    The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment
benefits last week shot to a record high of 6.65 million, as
more jurisdictions enforced stay-at-home measures to curb the
    U.S. stock indexes fell after an explosive increase in U.S.
jobless claims.  .N  
    "The longer this thing drags out, the worse the situation
will be in longer term. Gold is an asset that should do well
through all this turbulence, all the money that is being printed
to combat the effects of the virus and the interest rates being
dropped to zero," Haberkorn said.*:nL4N2BH3SH
    The pandemic has infected nearly 1 million people across the
world and killed over 50,000 and forced countries to ensure
restrictions and lockdowns to combat the outbreak.*:nL8N2AB5TN 
    "We think that gold will likely continue to play an
important role in investor allocations over the next few months
given all the turbulence. However, volatility will remain quite
high," said Edward Meir, analyst at ED&F Man Capital Markets in
a note.
    "Signs of prolonged economic weakness and increasingly
aggressive stimulus measures pursued by governments and central
banks should provide gold with something of a floor."    
    Indicative of sentiment, holdings in the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust  GLD , rose
0.18% to 968.75 tonnes on Wednesday, their highest since October
2016.  GOL/ETF 
    Among other precious metals, palladium  XPD=  fell 0.9% to
$2,197.63 per ounce, while platinum  XPT=  gained 1% to $724.84.
    "Auto data out of the U.S. and Europe paint a bleak picture.
Chinese data is beginning to show green shoots and should be
supportive to palladium and to a lesser extent platinum," MKS
PAMP said in a note.
    Silver  XAG=  jumped 3% to $14.42 per ounce.
    The global sliver market will be undersupplied for a third
year in 2020 as investors are lured by decade-low prices,
offsetting expected falls in its use by jewellers and industry,
a report forecast.*:nL8N2BQ4ZW

SPDR Gold Trust ETF holdings versus spot gold prices
 (Reporting by Sumita Layek and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru;
Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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