Gold falls as dollar firms amid doubts over U.S. restart plan

Gold fell to a more than one-week low on Monday, dragged by a firmer dollar amid doubts over the United States’ plans to reopen the world’s largest economy as the novel coronavirus pandemic showed no signs of easing.

Spot gold fell 0.7% to $1,672.62 per ounce by 0621 GMT, having touched its lowest since April 9 earlier. The metal slumped about 2% on Friday on hopes that the U.S. economy might reopen soon. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.4% to $1,692.60.

“Receding optimism (about growth prospects) is a factor I would normally expect to be supportive of gold prices, but we aren’t seeing that at the moment,” said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets.

“It might have to do with the strength in the U.S. dollar, which hasn’t made a particularly large move, but is higher.”

The dollar, which is also considered a safe-haven, rose 0.3% as investors braced for more dire news on the fallout from the virus and governments across the globe moved only cautiously toward an economic re-start.

In the United States, governors in states hardest hit by the pandemic sparred with President Donald Trump over his claims they have enough tests and should quickly reopen their economies as more protests are planned over the extension of stay-at-home orders.

Caution gripped Asian share markets ahead of a busy week of corporate earnings reports and economic data that are expected to show the damage done by the global virus lockdown.

“At this point, markets have split into liquidity or risk assets — the dollar, the yen, the U.S. government bonds on one side and virtually everything else on the other, including gold,” said DailyFx currency strategist Ilya Spivak.

“So, as we get fears that this recession will be substantial and disruption in economic activity will be longer lasting, gold is one of those things that will be liquidated.”

Gold generally gains from reduced appetite for risk, but has on occasion moved in tandem with equities, with sharp sell-offs in wider markets prompting investors to sell the precious metal to cover losses elsewhere.

It has also been hit by lower physical demand from top consumers India and China, where lockdowns have stalled activity.

Reported cases of the virus have crossed 2.38 million globally and 164,918 people have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 0200 GMT.

Palladium rose 2.1% to $2,201.76 per ounce, platinum gained 0.1% to $775.89, while silver eased 0.2% to $15.10.