Gold fell on Tuesday as risk appetite was boosted by plans of some countries to ease coronavirus curbs in a phased manner, but prices held above the key $1,700 per ounce level amid hopes for more stimulus to cushion the fallout from the pandemic.
* Spot gold eased 0.7% to $1,702.09 per ounce by 0139 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,719.20 per ounce.
* Asian stocks were set for gains after a strong Wall Street session as easing lockdown restrictions by some countries and U.S. states buoyed sentiment, despite another decline in oil prices.
* Countries from Italy to New Zealand have announced the easing of coronavirus lockdowns but British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was too early to relax restrictions there.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
* More U.S. states with fewer cases eased restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of the virus that have led to a record 26.5 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits since mid-March.
* Japan's March jobless rate rose to its highest in a year, while job availability slipped to a more than three-year low, official data showed, as the coronavirus outbreak and containment measures caused the nation's job market to ease.
* While investors awaited the European central bank's next move, the Bank of Japan expanded monetary stimulus on Monday and pledged to buy an unlimited amount of bonds to keep borrowing costs low.
* Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures as it is often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.
* China's net gold imports via Hong Kong in March nearly trebled from the previous month as the country began gradually easing coronavirus restrictions, but imports were still down 63% from last year as the pandemic choked demand, data showed.
* Gold loves a crisis, the old adage goes. And with prices up 13% this year to their highest since 2012 and many predicting further gains as investors search for safe places to put their money, it looks true for the coronavirus crisis so far.
* Palladium rose 0.6% to $1,937.16 an ounce, platinum was little changed at $758.08 per ounce and silver slipped 1.6% to $15.03 per ounce.