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PRECIOUS-Gold gains as U.S. stimulus and vaccine hopes dent dollar

 (Adds comments, updates prices)
    * Vaccine hopes to have limited impact on gold - analyst
    * Dollar drops to 2-1/2 year trough
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
tmsnrt.rs/3mvcUoa

    By Nakul Iyer
    Dec 3 (Reuters) - Gold climbed on Thursday as the dollar
dropped on hopes that coronavirus vaccines will be rolled out
soon and cautious investor optimism over a U.S. stimulus deal.
    Spot gold        was up 0.3% at $1,837.30 per ounce at 0822
GMT, having hit its highest since Nov. 23 at $1,843.11. U.S.
gold futures        were up 0.7% at $1,843.60. 
    Hopes of a stimulus deal and vaccine progress pushed the 
U.S. dollar to a near 2-1/2-year low, making bullion cheaper to
holder of other currencies.       
    Although Congressional lawmakers were unable to agree on a
fresh U.S. coronavirus relief package, early signs indicate that
a $908 billion bipartisan proposal could be gaining traction as
a negotiating tool.             
    Stimulus talks, especially over a bipartisan agreement, will
support gold in the short term as it will likely weaken the U.S.
dollar, said Michael Langford, executive director at corporate
advisory and consultancy firm AirGuide.
    However, optimism over a COVID-19 vaccine could have limited
impact on bullion as much of it is priced in, he added. 
    Health experts in the United States welcomed Britain's
emergency approval of Pfizer's         vaccine, in a sign that
U.S. regulators may soon follow suit.                           
    "Vaccinations will take a long time to cure COVID-19," said
Kunal Shah, head of research at Nirmal Bang Commodities in
Mumbai, India, adding that given the level of monetary
debasement, gold could rise to $1875-$1880 in December.   
    Gold is undervalued given the weaker dollar and low-interest
rates and should be trading in the 1900s, Howie Lee, economist
at OCBC Bank said, adding it could rally in the near future.
    Lower interest rates lower the opportunity cost of holding
non-yielding bullion.        
    Silver        were little changed at $24.11 an ounce, while
platinum        rose 0.8% to $1,022.25 and palladium       
gained 0.5% to $2,410.29.  

 (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry
Jacob-Phillips, Ramakrishnan M., Vinay Dwivedi and Alexander
Smith)
  
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