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PRECIOUS-Gold inches up as dollar dips, Mnuchin rekindles stimulus hopes

    Nov 23 (Reuters) - Gold prices ticked higher on Monday in
early Asian trade, supported by a weaker dollar and hopes of
further U.S. stimulus aimed at cushioning the economic blow from
the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        rose 0.1% to $1,872.96 per ounce by 0059
GMT.    
    * U.S. gold futures        were steady at $1,871.70.
    * The dollar index        was down 0.1%. 
    * U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday signalled
that negotiations on stimulus measures would continue, even as
he defended his decision to end several of the Federal Reserve's
pandemic lending programs on Dec. 31.             
    * U.S. healthcare workers and others recommended for the
nation's first COVID-19 inoculations could start getting shots
within a day or two of regulatory consent next month, a top
health official said on Sunday.             
    * Leaders of the 20 biggest economies vowed on Sunday to
spare no effort to supply COVID-19 drugs, tests and vaccines
affordably and fairly to "all people".             
    * A festival-led buying spree continued in India's retail
gold market last week, though premiums eased slightly from a
week ago and sales volumes were seen as lower year-on-year.
            
    * Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.24% to 1,220.17 tonnes
on Friday.             
    * Speculators raised their bullish positions in COMEX gold
and silver contracts in the week to Nov. 17, the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.             
    * Silver        firmed 0.4% to $24.24 per ounce. Platinum
       fell 0.3% to $943.21, while palladium        was up 0.1%
at $2,329.01. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
    0815  France  Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs
    0830  Germany Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs
    0900  EU      Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs
    0930  UK      Flash, Composite, Mfg, Serv PMIs
    1445  US      Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs
    

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by
Ramakrishnan M.)
  
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