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PRECIOUS-Gold hovers near 1-week peak as Treasury yields retreat

    Feb 23 (Reuters) - Gold prices hovered near a one-week peak
on Tuesday after gaining 1.5% in the previous session, as U.S.
Treasury yields retreated, lifting the appeal of the bullion.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        rose 0.1% to $1,809.57 per ounce by 0057
GMT, having hit its highest since Feb. 16 at $1,812.31 on
Monday. U.S. gold futures        gained 0.1% to $1,809.30.
    * The dollar reached multi-year lows on Monday against the
British pound and the Australian dollar as traders focused on
the promise of coronavirus vaccinations and economic growth
outlook.      
    * Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields             eased from a
near one-year peak on Monday. Higher yields increase the
opportunity cost of holding bullion.     
    * U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday launched changes to the
U.S. coronavirus aid program for small businesses to try to
reach smaller and minority-owned firms.            
    * The advancement of a proposed $1.9 trillion U.S. COVID-19
relief bill added to concerns about inflationary pressures. Gold
is often viewed as a hedge against inflation.            
    * The European Central Bank is "closely monitoring" the
recent rise in government bond yields, ECB President Christine
Lagarde said on Monday, the clearest sign yet that policymakers
are becoming uncomfortable with the recent surge in borrowing
costs.            
    * Bitcoin fell on Monday after surging to its latest record
high a day earlier as a sell-off in global equities curbed risk
appetite.            
    * The United States on Monday crossed the staggering
milestone of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.            
    * Investors now await the testimony of U.S. Federal Reserve
Chairman Jerome Powell on the Semiannual Monetary Report to
Congress on Tuesday.                        
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 1.1% to 1,115.4
tonnes on Monday.            
    * Silver        eased 0.4% to $28.04 an ounce. Platinum
       shed 0.4% to $1,267.46, while palladium        climbed
0.3% to $2,401.52.

 (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru;
Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)
  
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