Gold prices edged up on Monday as the U.S dollar hovered near a two-week low touched in the previous session, while coronavirus lockdowns tightened across the world and stoked fears of economic damage, lifting demand for safe-haven bullion.
- Spot gold was up 0.3% at $1,621.85 per ounce, as of 0029 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 1% to $1,641.80.
- The dollar was holding close to its lowest since March 17, touched on Friday, making gold cheaper for investors holding other currencies. - Physical gold dealers struggled to meet surging safe-haven demand last week, especially in Singapore, as the outbreak choked global supply chains, while massive discounts were offered in India amidst a lockdown.
- The coronavirus pandemic has already driven the global economy into recession and countries must respond with "very massive" spending to avoid a cascade of bankruptcies and emerging market debt defaults, the head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Friday.
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.
- Asian shares slid on Monday and oil prices took another tumble as fears mounted the global shutdown for the virus could last for months.
- The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a $2.2 trillion aid package - the largest in history - to help cope with the virus-inflicted economic downturn, while U.S. consumer sentiment dropped to near a 3-1/2-year low in March.
- U.S. deaths from coronavirus could reach 200,000 with millions of cases, the government's top infectious diseases expert warned on Sunday as New York, New Orleans and other major cities pleaded for more medical supplies.
- European Central Bank chief urged wrangling EU leaders to act more decisively to cushion the economic hit of the pandemic, three sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
- The number of deaths in Italy fell for the second consecutive day on Sunday but the country still looked almost certain to see an extension of stringent virus containment measures.
- A growing number of imported virus cases in China risked fanning a second wave of infections when domestic transmissions had "basically been stopped", a senior health official said on Sunday.
- Holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose 1.17% to 964.66 tonnes on Friday.
- Palladium rose 0.8% to $2,287.98 per ounce, platinum slipped 0.5% to $738.05, while silver eased 0.8% to $14.36.