Palladium tumbles 28%, gold over 4% in virus-led rout

By Brijesh Patel (Reuters) - Palladium plunged as much as 28% on Thursday as panic selling driven by intensifying fears over the coronavirus pandemic seeped into precious metals, with gold slumping 4% as investors rushed to cover margin calls in other assets. Platinum plummeted more than 10% and silver shed nearly 7%. 'It is a rush to cash and a mild panic-type move

Reuters March 13, 2020 02:05:55 IST
Palladium tumbles 28%, gold over 4% in virus-led rout

Palladium tumbles 28 gold over 4 in virusled rout

By Brijesh Patel

(Reuters) - Palladium plunged as much as 28% on Thursday as panic selling driven by intensifying fears over the coronavirus pandemic seeped into precious metals, with gold slumping 4% as investors rushed to cover margin calls in other assets.

Platinum plummeted more than 10% and silver shed nearly 7%.

"It is a rush to cash and a mild panic-type move. What we're seeing is market participants and investors indiscriminately selling every asset class," said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.

"People are selling gold and silver positions to finance equity positions or other situations," he added.

Global stock markets plunged into bear territory and oil slid more than 5% after U.S. President Donald Trump banned travel from Europe to stem the spread of coronavirus, threatening more disruption to the world economy.

Auto-catalyst metal palladium led the bloodbath in the precious complex, diving to its lowest since October 2019 at $1,653.51 per ounce.

"Apart from the overall drop across precious metals, palladium's move was exacerbated by news earlier this week of a breakthrough in catalytic converter technology, allowing for less use of the metal, which had damaged overall sentiment," said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO.

The metal has shed more than 35% since hitting an all-time high of $2,875.50 on Feb. 27, as demand concerns begin to overshadow a sharp supply shortfall.

Spot gold , meanwhile, was down 2.6% at $1,592.61 per ounce by 02:10 p.m. EDT (1810 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled 3.2% lower to $1,590.30.

Bullion has erased gains from a surge past the $1,700 per ounce level for the first time since late 2012 on Monday, when investors made a beeline for safe havens amid the rapid spread of the virus.

The pandemic has infected more than 121,000 people in 118 countries and killed over 4,300.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has the global marketplace in panic. 'When in doubt, get out' is the mantra today," Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff said in a note.

Global central banks have taken steps to help economies to cope with the growing cost of the coronavirus. The U.S. Federal Reserve reduced rates in an emergency move last week.

"We might see extreme volatility for 1-2 more weeks until, hopefully, we get a better handle on the outbreak in Europe and U.S.," BMO's Wong said.

Further denting metals, the dollar <.DXY> gained 1.5%.[USD/]

Silver fell 4.5% to $15.99 an ounce, its lowest since July 17.

Platinum lost 9.6% to $777.76, on track for its worst day since September 1986.

(Reporting by Brijesh Patel and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; editing by Dan Grebler abd Steve Orlofsky)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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