May 14 (Reuters) - Gold rose slightly on Thursday as U.S. stimulus talks and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's downbeat economic assessments supported the safe-haven metal, while investors awaited U.S. initial jobless claims data due later in the day. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold climbed 0.1% to $1,716.66 per ounce by 0037 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.6% to $1,726.20. * Asian equities were set to slump after Powell warned of a "significantly worse" U.S. recession than any downturn since World War Two because of coronavirus pandemic fallout. * Powell signalled bets that the U.S. central bank will pursue a negative interest-rate policy are off-base, but vowed to use its power as needed and called for additional fiscal spending to prop up the virus-hit economy. * Governors from both major political parties urged lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to cast aside partisanship and deliver relief to U.S. cities and states facing economic ruin as they fight what they called a "red, white and blue pandemic." * Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures as it is often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement. * Underscoring the economic impact of the epidemic, U.S. producer prices fell by the most since 2009 in April, leading to the largest annual decline in nearly 4-1/2 years. * British house prices are likely to fall as the market slowly begins to reopen, after a collapse in activity due to COVID-19 restrictions last month, a survey showed. * The virus that causes COVID-19 could become endemic like HIV, the World Health Organization said, warning against any attempt to predict how long it would keep circulating and calling for a "massive effort" to counter it. * Highlighting investor appetite for bullion, SPDR Gold Trust holdings, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.78% to 1,092.14 tonnes on Wednesday. * HSBC Holdings Plc suffered mark-to-market losses of about $200 million in a single day in March after gold prices in London and New York diverged dramatically, the bank said. * Palladium rose 0.8% to $1,832.72 an ounce and platinum gained 0.2% to $758.35, while silver fell 0.6% to $15.55. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0600 Germany HICP Final YY April 1230 U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Weekly (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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