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PRECIOUS-Gold firms on weaker dollar, U.S. stimulus hopes

    * Asian shares hit one-month high
    * U.S. weekly jobless claims due at 1230 GMT
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
here

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    By Eileen Soreng
    Oct 8 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Thursday, helped by a
softer dollar and renewed optimism over some U.S. coronavirus
relief aid, with investors eyeing the weekly jobless claims data
to further gauge the health of the world's largest economy.
    Spot gold        rose 0.3% to $1,892.01 per ounce by 0727
GMT. U.S. gold futures        were up 0.3% at $1,896.
    "Gold needs both fiscal and monetary policy to come into
play," said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at OANDA.
    "The virus' spread is still strong in more states and also
in Europe, and that is going to force policymakers and lawmakers
to deliver more stimulus," Moya said. 
    After shutting down negotiations over a larger stimulus
deal, Trump wrote on Twitter that Congress should pass money for
airlines, small businesses, and stimulus checks of $1,200 for
individuals, fuelling hopes for a partial deal.             
    Gold, considered a hedge against inflation and currency
debasement, has risen 24% this year, supported by massive
government and central bank stimulus worldwide meant to revive
their pandemic-hit economies. 
    Meanwhile, minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's September
meeting offered no clear sense of the next steps to offset the
coronavirus recession. Many policymakers said their economic
outlook assumed additional fiscal support.             
    Investors now await U.S. employment data due at 1230 GMT.
Jobless claims are predicted to decline, but continued claims
are likely to remain above 10 million.             
    The dollar index        was down 0.1% against rivals, while
Asian shares hit a one-month high.                   
    "All factors are indicating a bullish momentum in gold ...
Downside is limited and $1,850-$1,860 should be the bottom for
gold and it should again move up to $1,920-$1,940," said Kunal
Shah, head of research at Nirmal Bang Commodities in Mumbai,
India.
    Elsewhere, silver        gained 0.7% to $24.01 per ounce.
Platinum        rose 0.1% to $865.36 per ounce, while palladium
       was 0.3% higher at $2,359.29.

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru
Editing by Uttaresh.V, Robert Birsel)
  
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