Gold Prices Gain as WHO Considers Designating Virus Outbreak a Global Concern

Gold prices gained on Thursday in Asia amid continuing concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Gold Futures gained 0.5% to $1,577.65 by 1:45 AM ET (05:45 GMT).

Overnight, British Airway and Lufthansa announced they had canceled all flights to China, while Toyota said it would suspend vehicle production in the country.

The World Health Organization will meet later today to decide whether to label the outbreak a matter of global concern. So far, the death toll has reached 170, according to data released by China.

Meanwhile, Zhang Ming, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think tank, said China’s economic growth may drop to 5% or even lower due to the viral outbreak, possibly pushing policymakers to introduce more stimulus measures.

In other news, the U.S. Federal Reserve kept rates steady as expected as it pointed to continued signs of a strong economy, but noted that it is “carefully monitoring” coronavirus and other global risks.

“There will likely be near-term effects on Chinese output, and we’ll have to see what the effect is globally,” he said.