Gold Gains on Weak Data, But Bound for Weekly Loss

Prices for gold gained on Friday as dismal U.S. data highlighted the economic impact of the coronavirus, but the shiny yellow metal was on track to post its biggest weekly decline in more than a month on hopes that the countries under lockdown will ease restrictions soon.

Spot gold rose about 0.3% to $1,684.35 U.S. per ounce, having slumped nearly 2% in the previous session. U.S. gold futures eased 0.1% to $1,691.90 U.S.

The safe-haven metal was down about 2.5% for the week, its biggest weekly drop since mid-March.

Millions more Americans filed claims for unemployment benefits last week, lifting the number of applications to 30.3 million since March 21, data showed, amid a record collapse in consumer spending in March.

Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures as it is often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.

The European Central Bank tweaked policy around the edges but kept the door wide open to further stimulus — including potentially controversial purchases of junk debt — to help an economy ravaged by the outbreak.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday Britain was now past the peak of its coronavirus outbreak and promised to set out a plan next week on how the country might start gradually returning to normal life.

Japan will extend its state of emergency for containing the novel coronavirus as early as Monday, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it would be difficult to return to everyday life.

Palladium gained 0.4% to $1,968.23 U.S. per ounce but was on track to post its fifth straight weekly decline.

Platinum was steady at $772.47 U.S. per ounce, while silver fell 0.7% to $14.91 U.S.