PRECIOUS-Gold edges up as weaker dollar offsets vaccine optimism

 (Updates prices)
    * Fed minutes due at 1900 GMT
    * Dollar hovers close to near three-month low
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
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    By Diptendu Lahiri
    Nov 25 (Reuters) - Gold edged higher on Wednesday after
retreating in previous sessions, with a weaker dollar helping to
offset a shift to equities and other riskier assets on hopes
that coronavirus vaccines will spur economic recovery.
    Spot gold        firmed by 0.2% to $1,811.40 an ounce at
1307 GMT, having hit its lowest since July 17 at $1,800.01 on
Tuesday. U.S. gold futures         rose 0.4% to $1,811.60.
    "It's clearly bargain hunting at present," said independent
analyst Robin Bhar. "Prices have fallen over $150 in the past
two weeks and investors are grabbing this opportunity to take
    The dollar index        was hovering close to its lowest in
nearly three months, making dollar-priced bullion cheaper to
buyers with other currencies.       
    Sunilkumar Katke, head of currencies and commodities at Axis
Securities, said the weaker dollar was a good opportunity for
investors who missed buying gold in March. 
    Analysts do not expect an immediate recovery in gold as
equities power to record highs on optimism over COVID-19
vaccines and a smooth power transition in Washington.      
    But StoneX analyst Rhona O'Connell said consolidation in the
gold price was likely.
    "A vaccine is not a cure and the acceleration in rates of
infection is a major worry, not just humanitarian but also
economic. Negative interest rates will persist," she said. 
    Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding
non-yielding gold, which has gained about 19% this year given
its status as a hedge against likely inflation spurred by the
massive economic stimulus unleashed globally.
    Prices should rise again as more evidence of inflation
emerges, Goldman Sachs said.             
    Investors were awaiting minutes of the U.S. Federal
Reserve's last meeting, due to be published at 1900 GMT.
    In other precious metals, silver        was up 0.5% at
$23.36 an ounce, platinum        fell 0.6% to $955.78 and
palladium        was down 0.7% at $2,332.99.

 (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri and Asha Sistla in Bengaluru
Editing by Edmund Blair and David Goodman)