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Gold steadies as WHO shows faith in China’s coronavirus strategy, sterling enjoys gains, Euro stocks continue slip

By Francis Jay

Investors appear to be moving away from safe-haven assets despite declaration of emergency and growing cases of virus worldwide

Tedros Adhanom, director general of the World Health Organization

Gold prices remained relatively stable after the World Health Organisation praised China’s “extraordinary measures” to fight the coronavirus outbreak, despite an estimate of around 10,000 cases worldwide.

In late afternoon UK trading, the gold spot price hovered around $1,586, rallying above the peak at the start of the week. Futures prices were slightly less volatile, increasing by 0.23 per cent to 1,592.80 after the rare designation of global emergency.

The Swiss franc, another safe-haven asset, continued to lose its weekly gains, falling around 0.54 per cent to $0.9644.

The coronavirus put significantly more pressure on oil. The US crude spot remained low after a damaging week, down 2.68 at $51.53. Brent crude fell even more sharply, recovering slightly at $57.13 after a fall early in the day to $56.40. Royal Dutch Shell shares were also damaged, down 1.4 points at $53.45.

American Airlines stock was down 2.81 per cent but Air China only fell by 0.16 per cent at close.

The pound made significant gains against the dollar on the UK’s official EU departure day, increasing 0.74 per cent against the dollar in later afternoon UK trading. It was also up 0.27 per cent against the euro, with the euro falling 0.43 against the dollar. Indicators of healthier consumer confidence in the UK and yesterday’s rate announcement contributed to sterling’s gains. The FTSE100 continued to slump over the week, closing at 7,286.01, down 95.95 points.

In Europe, the DAX closed at 12,981.97, down 1.33 per cent while the CAC 40 finished at 5,806.34, a reduction of 1.11 per cent. The STOXX Europe 600 Index followed this trend, down 1.07 at the end of the week.

Bitcoin was down 2.3 per cent against the dollar while Litecoin remained more stable with a loss of 0.58 per cent after a stellar performance on the previous day.

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