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PRECIOUS-Gold steady as hopes of U.S. stimulus counter strong dollar

 (Adds comments, updates prices)
    * Gold up 0.3% this week, silver 1.5%
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
here

    By Nakul Iyer
    Oct 23 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Friday as
expectations that a U.S. stimulus package would eventually be
passed offset pressure from a stronger dollar.
    Spot gold        was little changed at $1,903.36 per ounce
by 0631 GMT, after slipping more than 1% in the previous
session. U.S. gold futures        rose 0.01% to $1,905.80.
    Gold, which is considered as a hedge against potential
inflation, is up 0.3% for the week.
    "Concerns over rising COVID-19 cases and the increasing
likelihood of a democrat win in the U.S. election, which is
likely to result in greater stimulus and weaken the dollar, are
helping gold rise," said Cameron Alexander, manager of precious
metals research at Refinitiv Metals Research.
    "Signs of a potential (U.S. stimulus) deal earlier may have
provided some upwards momentum." 
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said negotiators were
making progress in talks with the White House over the
coronavirus fiscal aid package and a deal could be reached
"pretty soon".              
    "If we get the inflation spark, gold can go to $2,000...
without that, I don't think we can get up there," said Stephen
Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi.
    The dollar index        rose 0.1% against a basket of major
currencies, making gold more expensive for other currency
holders.       
    Market focus now shifts to the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential
election after President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger
Joe Biden offered sharply contrasting views on the pandemic at
Thursday's final presidential debate.              
    "Gold will find plenty of willing buyers on dips to $1,900
as investors rotate into haven positioning as the U.S. election
draws nearer," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA,
said.    
    Elsewhere, silver        fell 0.9% to $24.54 per ounce, but
was set for a weekly rise of 1.5%. Platinum        fell 0.3% to
$882.40 and palladium        rose 0.6% to $2,387.02. 
   

 (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren
Daniel)
  
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