PRECIOUS-Gold rises on global growth fears; firm dollar caps gains

 (Updates prices)
    * Gold up after last session's more than 1% drop
    * U.S. weekly initial jobless claims due at 1230 GMT
    * Dollar hits more than one-week high
    * For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread,
 in an external browser

    By Brijesh Patel
    May 7 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained on Thursday after a
batch of sombre economic data heightened fears over global
growth, while a stronger dollar and the easing of
coronavirus-driven lockdowns by many countries limited the
    Spot gold        was up 0.5% at $1,694.66 per ounce by 1200
GMT. U.S. gold futures         rose 0.6% to $1,698.70.
    Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said prices had hovered
around $1,700 for a while.
    He said there was "a bit of a tussle" as some anticipate
another deterioration of the economic backdrop and enter the
market while another camp, which anticipates a gradual recovery
as lockdowns ease, is considering not adding more gold to
    The new coronavirus has infected more than 3.71 million
people globally, battered global growth and prompted investors
to seek safe havens such as gold. It has risen more than 10% so
far this year.
    More dismal data from the United States highlighted the deep
economic impact of the virus, with U.S. private employers laying
off a record 20.2 million workers in April.             
    The focus now shifts to U.S. weekly initial jobless claims
data due later on Thursday. 
    Also on investors' radar are developments surrounding
U.S.-China relations after President Donald Trump threatened new
tariffs on Beijing.                           
    Meanwhile, the safe-haven gains for the U.S. dollar limited
gold's advance, with the dollar index        hitting a more than
one-week peak.       
    Gold had fallen more than 1% on Wednesday, weakened by the
dollar strength and as some bullion refineries restarted
production, easing concerns over global supply.             
    "In the near-term gold may come in for some further
pressure. But with interest rates so low, there is probably a
limit to how far gold can fall, even in the case of an end to
lockdowns," said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at
financial services firm AxiCorp.
    Central banks around the world have cut interest rates and
rolled out a wave stimulus measures to limit the economic damage
from the virus.              
    Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures
because it is widely viewed as a hedge against inflation and
currency debasement.
    Elsewhere, palladium        climbed 0.6% to $1,809.12 per
ounce, platinum        gained 0.6% to $753.37 and silver       
rose 0.8% to $15.03.

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; editing by Barbara
Lewis and Jane Merriman)