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PRECIOUS-Gold firms as dollar stalls, uncertainties loom ahead of U.S. polls

    * ECB policy decision at 1245 GMT
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
tmsnrt.rs/3mvcUoa

 (Recasts, adds comments, updates prices)
    By Eileen Soreng
    Oct 29 (Reuters) - Gold inched up on Thursday after a sharp
slide in the previous session as a halt in the dollar's rally
supported some safe- haven buying driven by surging coronavirus
cases and the approaching U.S. elections. 
    Spot gold        rose 0.1% to $1,879.71 per ounce by 0805
GMT, with some investors also taking advantage of Wednesday's
slide to a one-month low to buy gold. U.S. gold futures        
were up 0.1% at $1,880.10.
    The U.S. elections and expectation of a pause in the dollar
index are propping up gold, said Vandana Bharti, assistant
vice-president of commodity research at SMC Comtrade.
    Also, "in giant economies like France and Germany, COVID-19
cases are increasing and again they are going for lockdowns. So
in that situation, there should be some safe-haven buying for
gold." 
    Ahead of the Nov. 3 election, Democratic challenger Joe
Biden leads U.S. President Donald Trump nationally, but the
competition is tighter in swing states.             
    "The broad supportive band (for gold) through $1,870-$1,880
remains intact for the time-being... Key near-term drivers
remain U.S. equity flows and dollar direction," MKS PAMP said in
a note.
    Concerns over the pace of the global economic recovery have
also gripped markets in recent days, as European countries
impose new lockdowns to contain a new coronavirus wave.
            
    The dollar index        rally took a breather as it steadied
off a one-week peak scaled on Wednesday.        
    Investors are now focussing on central bank meetings, with
the European Central Bank expected to hold off on new measures
later in the day and hinting at action in December.
                        
    Gold, considered an inflation-hedge, has gained 24% this
year, helped by near-zero interest rates globally and
unprecedented stimulus measures to ease the economic blow from
the pandemic.
    Silver        fell 0.6% to $23.28 per ounce, while platinum
       rose 0.3% to $870.02. Palladium        was up 0.5% at
$2,247.76. 
   

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Asha Sistla in Bengaluru;
editing by Uttaresh.V, Aditya Soni and Rashmi Aich)
  
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