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PRECIOUS-Gold nears $1,800 level as U.S. dollar, yields lose ground

    * Dollar pinned near multi-week lows, Treasury yield below
1.6%
    * Palladium hovers near Wednesday's record peak of
$2,891.20/oz
    * Long-running tightness in market fuelling palladium's
rise-HSBC

 (Updates prices)
    By Shreyansi Singh
    April 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices steadied near a two-month
high on Thursday, a whisker away from the key $1,800 threshold
as the U.S. dollar faltered with easing Treasury yields, while
supply concerns kept palladium anchored near last session's
record peak.
    Spot gold        was little changed at $1,792.66 per ounce
by 0707 GMT, after hitting its highest since Feb. 25 at
$1,797.67. U.S. gold futures        were flat at $1,793 per
ounce.
    "What's obviously underpinning the upswing (in gold) is the
dynamic in U.S. Treasuries ... which is sort of pushing lower in
the very short term," said IG Market analyst Kyle Rodda, adding
that a drop below 1.5% in yields could help push gold above
$1,800, a key psychological level.
    The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield             was
pinned below 1.6%, reducing the opportunity cost of holding
non-yielding bullion. The dollar index        held near
multi-week lows against most major currencies.             
    Gold prices could easily move above $1,800 in the next
couple of days because there is still a lot of uncertainty in
the global markets, said Harshal Barot, a senior research
consultant for South Asia at Metals Focus.
    "COVID-19 cases continue to be at record highs in a lot of
countries and there is this whole revaluation about global
growth prospects that should help safe haven assets (like
gold)." 
    Market participants now await a European Central Bank
meeting due later in the day.
    Palladium        eased 0.4% to $2,864.65 an ounce, having
surged to an all-time high of $2,891.20 per ounce on Wednesday.
    "Long running tightness in the market is fuelling the
metal's rise as auto demand remains strong," HSBC analysts wrote
in a note, adding that they expect prices to be volatile.
    The auto-catalyst metal has surged nearly 25% since Russia's
Nornickel          , the world's largest producer of the metal,
partly suspended operations at two of its mines in late
February.
    Silver        slipped 0.3% to $26.49 per ounce and platinum
       was down 0.2% to $1,211.26.

 (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh and Swati Verma in Bengaluru;
Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Shounak Dasgupta)
  
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