PRECIOUS-Gold steadies near record high as virus concerns persist

    * Asia stocks rise on upbeat factory data 
    * Gold hit record high of $1,984.66/oz on Monday
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
open in an external browser

 (Updates prices)
    By Brijesh Patel
    Aug 4 (Reuters) - Gold held steady near record highs on
Tuesday as worries over global economic fallout from mounting
COVID-19 cases offset an uptick in risk sentiment driven by
positive U.S. economic data.
    Spot gold        was steady at $1,976.19 per ounce by 0725
GMT, $8.47 shy of the all-time high hit in the previous session.
U.S. gold futures        rose 0.4% to $1,993.20.
    "The coronavirus problem is going to be with us for a while.
It seems that economies around the world will be very fragile
for an extended period of time," said Edward Meir, analyst at
ED&F Man Capital Markets.
    "They (economies) would require stimulus, monetary easing
and lower interest rates to cushion the shocks. All of those
would be beneficial for gold."
    Coronavirus cases continue to surge in the United States and
elsewhere. The World Health Organization warned that the road to
normality would be long, with some countries requiring a reset
of strategy.                         
    Central banks around the world have rolled out a flurry of
stimulus measures and cut interest rates to mitigate the
economic damage caused by the pandemic, helping gold rise more
than 30% so far this year as it is seen as a hedge against
inflation and fears of currency debasement.
    Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers said they had made progress in
talks on a new coronavirus relief bill.             
    "What makes gold investing so appealing over the short-term
or the medium-term perspective that when U.S. real yields are
lower or negative, investors have no opportunity cost in owning
bullion," Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at financial
services firm AxiCorp, said in a note.      
    Holding back the metal, investor appetite for riskier assets
rose after strong U.S. manufacturing data and gains in tech
    Silver        gained 0.4% to $24.34 per ounce, platinum
       rose 0.5% to $921.26 and palladium        climbed 0.8%

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu
Sahu and Christian Schmollinger)