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PRECIOUS-Gold rises as dollar slips, stimulus bets grow

 (Updates prices)
    * Dollar falls to a more than one-week low
    * Platinum rises to highest since Aug. 2016
    * Investors await Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech on
Wednesday
    * Strong investment demand to push platinum into deficit-UBS

    By Shreyansi Singh
    Feb 9 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose to a one-week high on
Tuesday, as a sliding dollar and hopes of more U.S. fiscal
stimulus bolstered its appeal among investors seeking an
inflation hedge.
    Spot gold        was up 0.3% to $1,835.24 per ounce by 1:38
p.m. EST (1838 GMT), after hitting its highest since Feb. 2 at
$1,848.40 earlier in the session. 
    U.S. gold futures        settled up 0.2% to $1,837.50.
    "The reflation trade is really starting to settle in," and
gold is benefiting from the dollar weakening again, and stimulus
being the big focus, said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at
OANDA. 
    Gold is "going to attract a significant amount of flows
because of just the uncertainty with the global economic
recovery and also, the U.S. Federal Reserve is going to be very
accommodative for quite some time."  
    U.S. lawmakers were armed with a budget outline to push U.S.
President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package
through Congress without Republican support, with the
legislation likely to pass before March 15.
                                     
    Gold is considered a hedge against inflation and currency
debasement likely to result from widespread stimulus measures.
    Raising bullion's appeal for holders of other currencies,
the dollar        slipped to a more than one-week low.        
    Investors awaited Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's speech before
a virtual Economic Club of New York event at 1900 GMT on
Wednesday.             
    Auto-catalyst platinum       , meanwhile, rose 1.6% to
$1,175.42, after hitting $1,189.90, its highest since August
2016.
    "While a fabrication surplus is expected this year, strong
investment demand should once again push the platinum market
into a deficit," UBS analysts wrote in a note.
    "Other supporting drivers include low real U.S. interest
rates, a weaker U.S. dollar, and global economic recovery thanks
to aggressive monetary and fiscal stimulus measures."
    Silver        eased 0.1% to $27.22 an ounce, palladium
       fell 0.5% to $2,320.48.

 (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Barbara
Lewis and Marguerita Choy)
  
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