PRECIOUS-Gold steady as investors bet on more stimulus-led inflation

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 (Updates prices)
    By Shreyansi Singh
    Jan 13 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Wednesday,
underpinned by data showing a rise in consumer prices in the
United States and expectations that more fiscal stimulus from a
Joe Biden administration could trigger higher inflation. 
    Spot gold        was little changed at $1,854.84 an ounce by
1.44 p.m. EST (1844 GMT). U.S. gold futures        settled up
0.6% at $1,854.90.
    Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures, said
expectations for more stimulus, higher-than-expected inflation
and safe-haven buying driven by the political environment in the
United States were keeping gold supported.
    The Labor Department on Wednesday said its consumer price
index increased 0.4% last month after gaining 0.2% in November.
    "It shows that there's a slight uptick in inflation, which
is always supportive of gold," Haberkorn said.             
    But capping bullion's gains, the dollar firmed and benchmark
10-year Treasury yields             hovered close to their
highest level in nearly 10 months.             
    Gold is generally considered a hedge against the inflation
and currency debasement that can result from widespread
stimulus. However, higher bond yields have challenged that
status recently as they increase the opportunity cost of holding
non-yielding bullion.
    "Complacent positioning in gold is being shaken up, that's a
direct result of the blue sweep which forced the markets to
price in a substantial increase in treasury supply," said Daniel
Ghali, commodity strategist at TD Securities. 
    U.S. President-elect Biden said he would unveil a plan on
Thursday to provide trillions of dollars of support for the
American economy as it grapples with the coronavirus crisis.
    Meanwhile, exchange-traded funds storing gold for investors
shrank for a second month in December, but nevertheless grew
more than ever before in 2020, the World Gold Council said.
    Among other precious metals, silver        fell 0.5% to
$25.45 an ounce, platinum        rose 2.2% to $1,099.55 and
palladium        edged 0.2% higher to $2,396.71.

 (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh in Bengaluru
Editing by David Goodman and Matthew Lewis)