(Adds details, comments; updates prices)
* Palladium, platinum down after weaker car sales by Ford -analyst
* Palladium falls more than 3%
* China to halve some U.S. tariffs from Feb. 14
* U.S. non-farm payrolls data due on Friday
Feb 6 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Thursday as expectations of central banks keeping interest rates low and uncertainties around the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic fueled appetite for the safe-haven metal.
Spot gold gained 0.4% to $1,563.01 per ounce by 1554 GMT, having dropped on Wednesday to its lowest since Jan. 21 at $1,546.90. U.S. gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,566.80.
“Investors are accumulating gold positions at the moment anticipating more quantitative easing programs and lower rates from central banks,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding bullion.
The death toll from the virus in mainland China jumped to 563, with experts stepping up efforts to combat a disease that has shut down Chinese cities and forced thousands more into quarantine around the world.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday played down reports of “breakthrough” drugs being discovered to treat infected people.
“The more activities by the central banks, especially in China, to prop markets up to nullify effects of coronavirus, the more it will help gold,” Haberkorn added.
China said it would halve additional tariffs levied against U.S. goods and has already signed off on more government spending, tax relief and subsidies for virus-hit sectors.
Gold’s gains came despite a record run in Wall Street, a stronger dollar and better-than-expected weekly U.S. jobless claims data.
“You can’t count out gold” despite the rise in stocks or the dollar, given a global slowdown, even in China, would keep “benign interest rates everywhere investors look,” George Gero, managing director at RBC Wealth Management, said in a note.
For future market direction, investors eye the U.S. non-farm payrolls report due on Friday.
“Technically, the gold bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage and have worked to stabilize the market late this week,” Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff said in a note.
Elsewhere, palladium fell 3.3% to $2,351.27. The metal surged to an all-time high of $2,582.19 on Jan. 20.
Both platinum and palladium, used in emissions-controlling autocatalysts, are seeing some profit-taking due to the weaker sales reported by major U.S. carmaker Ford Motor Co, RBC’s Gero said in a note.
Silver rose 0.9% to $17.75, while platinum slipped 2% to $961.76 after touching a one-week high of $987.60. (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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