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Gold steady as investors gauge coronavirus economic impact

Kitco News

(Updates prices)

* Gold on track for a weekly rise

* Gold to be stuck in range of $1,550-$1,580/oz -analyst

* Gold in euros hits record peak of 1,456.07 euros/ounce

* Palladium up over 5% for the week so far

By Sumita Layek

Feb 14 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Friday after easing from a more than one-week high as investors assessed the risks to the global economy from the coronavirus epidemic.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,576.43 an ounce at 1227 GMT, having earlier touched its highest since Feb. 4 at $1,577.89. For the week, bullion has so far gained about 0.4%.

U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,579.60.

Chinese authorities on Thursday reported 121 new deaths and 5,000 new coronavirus cases in mainland China with economists scaling back growth expectations for the world’s second-largest economy as they assess the impact of the outbreak.

“The economic impact of the measures taken (by China) should not be underestimated; the workers are returning very slowly to their factories, supply chains are probably disrupted ... we see quite a drag on the Chinese growth in the first-quarter,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.

However, European shares touched record highs as investors shrugged off fears about the outbreak’s global economic impact and the dollar hit a more than four-month peak against a basket of rivals, limiting gold’s advance.

Gold in euros eased slightly from a record peak of 1,456.07 euros per ounce hit earlier in the session.

Meanwhile, U.S. prosecutors on Thursday accused Chinese company Huawei of stealing trade secrets. Washington had placed the telecoms equipment maker on a trade blacklist last year.

“All the geopolitical concerns that took gold prices higher are still with us ... even the U.S.-China Phase 1 deal is being affected by the virus to some extent. We have still got potential tensions in the Middle East and the U.S. elections are coming up,” INTL FCStone analyst Rhona O’Connell said.

“Gold prices are stuck between a range of $1,550- $1,580 an ounce and at the moment I see nothing that will take it out of there.”

Among other precious metals, palladium rose 0.8% to $2,443.72 an ounce, and was on track to register its best week since the week ended Jan. 17, gaining more than 5%.

Silver meanwhile gained 0.3% to $17.68, while platinum was up 0.4% at $971.83, and was set to gain for a second straight week. (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith and David Evans)

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