Nov 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday as investors weighed the economic impact from the resurgence of COVID-19 globally against optimism over a potential vaccine. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,881.36 per ounce by 0055 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were down 0.3% at $1,878.90. * U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Tuesday it was not time to shut down emergency programs aimed at battling the economic fallout from the pandemic and the economy is left with "a long way to go" to recover. * U.S. retail sales increased less than expected in October and could slow down further, restrained by surging COVID-19 infections and declining household income as millions of unemployed Americans lose government financial support. * More than 55.3 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus worldwide, according to a Reuters tally. * Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned his top ministers on Tuesday it was far from certain that a trade agreement would be reached with the European Union but that Britain would thrive with, or without, a deal. * An effective coronavirus vaccine will not fundamentally change European Central Bank economic projections, ECB President Christine Lagarde told a Bloomberg event on Tuesday. * The World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) said on Wednesday a shortfall of metal this year would be almost four times bigger than it previously forecast as supply shrinks by more than expected and demand rebounds faster from the pandemic hit. * Investment in silver coins and bars will hit a five-year high this year and exchange-traded funds will expand their hoard by 350 million ounces to a record 1.1 billion ounces, an industry report said on Tuesday. * Silver was flat at $24.47 per ounce. Platinum was steady at $925.60, while palladium fell 0.2% to $2,314.08. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0700 UK CPI YY Oct 1000 EU HICP Final MM, YY Oct 1330 US Housing Starts Number Oct (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
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