PRECIOUS-Gold set for worst month since November 2016 on stronger dollar

    * Gold down 4.2% so far this month
    * Dollar on track for best month since July 2019
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:

 (Updates prices)
    By Eileen Soreng
    Sept 30 (Reuters) - Gold was set for its biggest monthly
decline in nearly four years, led lower on Wednesday by a
stronger dollar as caution returned to markets after the first
U.S. presidential debate.
    Spot gold        fell 0.6% to $1,886.78 per ounce by 0812
GMT, declining 4.2% so far in the month in what would be its
worst monthly performance since November 2016. 
    U.S. gold futures        were down 0.5% at $1,893.40.
    The dollar index        was up 0.1%, en route to its biggest
monthly gain since July 2019, making gold more expensive for
holders of other currencies.       
    "The dollar's post-debate gains foiled gold's latest attempt
to hit the psychologically important $1,900 handle," said FXTM
market analyst Han Tan, adding that the currency was investors'
favoured safe-haven asset now.
    But he said, "should investors grow more concerned over the
prospects of a delayed outcome to the elections, the extended
political uncertainty could offer the metal another leg up over
the coming weeks."
    The debate in Cleveland turned chaotic as President Donald
Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden battled fiercely over
Trump's record on the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare and the
    "Investors bought gold to hedge risk ahead of the
presidential debate. Now that it has passed without incident,
those hedges are being unwound," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior
market analyst at OANDA. 
    Also taking some shine off gold was upbeat Chinese data on
manufacturing and services activity as market participants
tracked progress on a new U.S. coronavirus relief bill.
    "Gold has entered into a temporary consolidation phase but
this may be a short-term correction in a long-term bull run, as
we move towards a second U.S. fiscal stimulus," said Margaret
Yang, a strategist with DailyFx, which covers currency,
commodity and index trading.
    Silver        fell 1.5% to $23.81 per ounce, platinum       
was down 1.6% at $870.36 and palladium        was up 0.1%

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Aich, Subhranshu Sahu and Uttaresh.V)