Gold prices eased on Wednesday as the US dollar firmed, while signs of a slowdown in the new coronavirus cases in major hot spots hurt the metal's safe-haven appeal and pushed it further away from a near one-month high hit in the previous session.
Spot gold slipped 0.2 per cent to $1,644.99 per ounce by 0049 GMT, having risen to its highest since March 10 on Tuesday. US gold futures eased 0.7 per cent to $1,671.30.
The dollar was up 0.2 per cent against key rivals, making gold costlier for investors holding other currencies.
Asian stock futures were under pressure after a late, sharp sell-off on Wall Street and as oil prices slumped.
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 1.3 million people and killed over 76,000 globally, and though the numbers are still rising in many highly populated countries, tentative improvements have given hope.
The central Chinese city of Wuhan began allowing people to leave on Wednesday for the first time since it was locked down 76 days ago, despite fears of a second wave of infection if such restrictions are eased too soon.
Even as doctors and nurses struggled to save an onslaught of gravely ill coronavirus patients, the number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations appeared to be levelling off in New York state, the US epicentre of the pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday.
US job openings fell in February, suggesting the labour market was losing momentum even before stringent measures to control the outbreak shuttered businesses, throwing millions out of work.
The White House hopes Congress will nearly double the size of its programme to support ailing small businesses by the end of the week, as some of the nation's largest lenders still sit on the sidelines and others remain unable to access the system.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday declared a state of emergency to fight coronavirus infections in major population centres and rolled out a nearly $1 trillion stimulus package to soften the economic blow.
SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.15 per cent to 985.71 tonnes on Tuesday.
Palladium gained 0.6 per cent to $2,188.27 per ounce, while platinum slipped 0.7 per cent to $729.03 and silver fell 0.9 per cent to $14.86.