PRECIOUS-Gold sprints to near 8-year top as virus crisis rages on

    * Gold marches towards its third straight monthly rise
    * Platinum eyes best quarter since Sept 2012
    * Silver on track for best quarter since end-2010
    * Palladium set for worst quarter since Sept 2011

 (Adds comments, updates prices)
    By Swati Verma and Shreyansi Singh
    June 30 (Reuters) - Gold surged to its highest in nearly 8
years on Tuesday as mounting fears of a resurgence of new
coronavirus cases kept safe-haven demand for gold alive, setting
the precious metal on path for its biggest quarterly gain since
March 2016.
    Spot gold        jumped 0.5% to $1,779.44 per ounce by 2:09
p.m. EDT (1809 GMT). The session high was $1,785.46, its highest
since October 2012. U.S. gold futures         settled up 1.1% at
    Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives
trading at BMO, said commodity trading advisers and algorithms
were encouraged as gold headed toward highs of $1,780.
    "Bulls are delighted with what will almost certainly be a
strong close, which provides the basis for a push to $1,800 in
short order."
    Gold, long considered a hedge against inflation and currency
debasement, was headed for its third month of gains, driven by
stimulus measures to support economies decimated by the
    "The underlying bullish fundamentals in the gold market
remain and those include the COVID-19 that is still prompting
safe-haven demand, the central bank stimulus that has been
record setting," and could cause inflation in the future, said
Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff.
    Some U.S. states have reversed reopenings and closed
businesses to combat a spike in cases.                          
    U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Monday said the
outlook for the world's biggest economy was "extraordinarily
    "U.S. yields have continued to grind lower and the result of
that is that real rates are printing new lows" which has boosted
the precious metal, said Daniel Ghali, commodity strategist at
TD Securities.      
    In other metals, platinum         rose 1.5% to $817.83 an
ounce, but was looking to post its first monthly fall in three
and biggest quarterly gain since September 2012.
    Palladium        jumped 1.4% to $1,929.55 per ounce. The
metal was set for its fourth monthly decline and worst quarter
since September 2011.
    Silver        climbed 1.5% to $18.13 and was on track for
its best quarter since end-2010.

 (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh and Swati Verma in Bengaluru;
Editing by Bernadette Baum)