PRECIOUS-Gold up 1% on way to biggest weekly gain in 11 years as virus risks mount

Harshith Aranya

mount@ (Updates prices, recalculates milestones)

* Global stocks fall, U.S. Treasury yields at record low

* Gold scales 7-year peak

* Interactive graphic on coronavirus spread: open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in external browser

March 6 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose more than 1% on Friday and were on course for their biggest weekly gain since January 2009 as the global spread of the coronavirus dimmed growth prospects and sent investors scurrying for safe-haven assets.

Spot gold was up 0.9% at $1,685.25 per ounce at 1231

GMT. Earlier, it touched a high of $1,689.65, or 1.2%, its highest since January 2013. Prices are up around 6.3% so far this week. U.S. gold

futures rose 1.1% to $1,686.50.

"The usual out of risky assets into safe havens" flow is fuelling gold's rise, driven by concerns about the economic fallout from the virus, said Peter Fertig, an analyst at Quantitative Commodity Research.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index slid in tandem

with global equities on concerns that the economic impact of the virus will be more severe than anticipated, while U.S. 10-year Treasury yields slumped to new record lows. "The market has no understanding of what's going on. Investors are buying bonds as well as gold as insurance from the deteriorating economic outlook," said SP Angel analyst Sergey Raevskiy. Globally, there have been more than 98,000 cases and over 3,300 deaths from the coronavirus. The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday said the outbreak would hold 2020 global output gains to their slowest pace since the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The epidemic poses "evolving risks" to the U.S. economy and central bank officials are monitoring developments closely, New York Federal Reserve President John Williams said on Thursday.

"Gold is looking to be one of the most attractive assets to own now as short term interest rates fall to near zero and most equity earnings are also expected to fall," Phillip Futures analysts said in a note. "However a drastic and prolonged drop in equity prices may not be good for gold as traders cash in from gold to pay off margin calls in equity." The U.S. Federal Reserve made an emergency 50 basis point interest rate cut on Tuesday. Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Elsewhere, palladium rose 3.1% to $2,610.80 per

ounce. The autocatalyst metal had hit an all-time high of $2,875.50 in late February.

Silver was up 0.2% to $17.45 an ounce, while platinum

rose 4.1% to $900.08.

(Reporting by Harshith Aranya and Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Evans)