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
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
"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.
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/]
(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.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.