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PRECIOUS-Gold falls as dollar firms amid doubts over U.S. restart plan

 (Updates prices)
    * Caution grips Asian stock markets ahead of corporate
earnings
    * Novel coronavirus infects more than 2.38 mln people
globally
    * Interactive graphic tracking the global spread: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7
 in an external browser

    By K. Sathya Narayanan
    April 20 (Reuters) - Gold fell to a more than one-week low
on Monday, dragged by a firmer dollar amid doubts over the
United States' plans to reopen the world's largest economy as
the novel coronavirus pandemic showed no signs of easing.
    Spot gold        fell 0.5% to $1,675.17 per ounce by 0816
GMT, having touched its lowest since April 9 earlier. The metal
slumped about 2% on Friday on hopes that the U.S. economy might
reopen soon.
    U.S. gold futures        slipped 0.7% to $1,687.10.
    "Receding optimism (about growth prospects) is a factor I
would normally expect to be supportive of gold prices, but we
aren't seeing that at the moment," said Michael McCarthy, chief
strategist at CMC Markets.
    "It might have to do with the strength in the U.S. dollar,
which hasn't made a particularly large move, but is higher."
    The dollar       , which is also considered a safe-haven,
rose 0.1% as investors braced for more dire news on the fallout
from the virus and governments across the globe moved only
cautiously toward an economic re-start.       
    In the United States, governors in states hardest hit by the
pandemic sparred with President Donald Trump over his claims
they have enough tests and should quickly reopen their economies
as more protests are planned over the extension of stay-at-home
orders.             
    Caution gripped Asian share markets ahead of a busy week of
corporate earnings reports and economic data that are expected
to show the damage done by the global virus lockdown.
           
    "At this point, markets have split into liquidity or risk
assets -- the dollar, the yen, the U.S. government bonds on one
side and virtually everything else on the other, including
gold," said DailyFx currency strategist Ilya Spivak. 
    "So, as we get fears that this recession will be substantial
and disruption in economic activity will be longer lasting, gold
is one of those things that will be liquidated."
    Gold generally gains from reduced appetite for risk, but 
has on occasion moved in tandem with equities, with sharp
sell-offs in wider markets prompting investors to sell the
precious metal to cover losses elsewhere.
    It has also been hit by lower physical demand from top
consumers India and China, where lockdowns have stalled
activity.         
    Reported cases of the virus have crossed 2.38 million
globally and 164,918 people have died, according to a Reuters
tally.             
    Palladium        rose 2.2% to $2,204.81 per ounce, platinum
       gained 0.1% to $775.83, while silver        was steady at
$15.13.

 (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu and Jason Neely)
  
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