(Recasts, updates prices) * Dollar index eases 0.3% * Senate to address stimulus checks this week- - McConnell * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: tmsnrt.rs/3mvcUoa By Shreyansi Singh Dec 29 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Tuesday as the prospect of additional U.S. stimulus bolstered the metal's appeal and weighed on the dollar, with Washington's lawmakers set to address President Donald Trump's request for larger coronavirus relief checks this week. Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,877.51 per ounce by 1:45 p.m. EST (1845 GMT). The metal climbed as much 1.3% on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump's approval of a $2.3 trillion stimulus package. U.S. gold futures settled up 0.1% to $1,882.90. "You now have a leadership in the U.S. that is going to do everything possible to defeat the virus - that's going to mean extended lockdowns, more stimulus and that is going to provide strong upward support for gold," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA. "Investors are bracing for a much stronger wave of stimulus once (President-elect Joe) Biden comes into office and I think that's why the gold trade is in check." The dollar index fell 0.3% against rival currencies, making greenback-denominated bullion more appealing for other currency holders. European stocks closed at a 10-month high, boosted by hopes of a bigger stimulus package, while U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday senators this week will address Trump's call for an increase in COVID-19 aid checks from $600 to $2,000. "We are entering 2021 with some nervousness as we got stock markets at elevated levels and (on) prospects of additional stimulus against the prospect of vaccine starting to improve the economic outlook... but overall it hasn't reduced the appetite for safe-haven metals," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen. As 2020 winds down, gold, a hedge against inflation, has risen about 24% this year, mainly due to stimulus measures rolled out across the globe to curtail the economic damage from the pandemic. Silver was up 0.1% at $26.12 an ounce. Platinum rose 1.5% to $1,046.26 and palladium was steady at $2,322.80. (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh, Aaron Saldanha and Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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