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PRECIOUS-Gold gains on weak dollar as focus turns to Georgia runoffs

    * Dollar index hovers close to 2-1/2 year low
    * Palladium jumps as much as 6%
    * Platinum rises more than 4%
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
tmsnrt.rs/3mvcUoa

 (Updates prices)
    By Shreyansi Singh
    Jan 5 (Reuters) - Gold hit a two-month high on Tuesday,
buoyed by a weaker dollar and growing concerns about COVID-19 as
investors awaited the outcome of U.S. Senate runoff elections in
Georgia that could impact prospects for more fiscal stimulus.
    Spot gold        was up 0.4% at $1,949.59 an ounce by 01:41
p.m. EST (1841 GMT), having earlier scaled its highest level
since Nov. 9, at $1,952.36.
    U.S. gold futures        settled up 0.4% at $1,954.40.
    "With more risks associated with the virus, short term,
we're seeing people moving money into the safe havens," said
Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA Bank, adding
that the dollar's weakness has been one of the main supports for
bullion in the first few days of 2021.
    Britain went into a new national lockdown amid rising
COVID-19 cases, while New York found its first case of a more
contagious coronavirus variant.                          
    The dollar index        hovered close to April 2018 lows,
making gold an attractive bet for other currency holders.       
    But caution prevailed as investors awaited the outcome of a
pair of run-off elections in Georgia as control of the U.S.
Senate - and with it the ability to block or advance Democratic
President-elect Joe Biden's agenda - was on the ballot.
                         
    "There is not one central bank talking about raising rates
across the globe. So that's going to keep a bid on gold," said 
Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors.
    Many investors view non-yielding bullion as a hedge against
inflation and currency debasement they fear could result from
large stimulus measures.             
    Silver        rose 1.1% to $27.50 and palladium       
gained 3.9% to $2,465.18, after rising as much as 6% earlier in
the session.
    Platinum        was up 3.5% at $1,107.25, having risen as
much as 4.1% earlier.
    "Thoughts about global growth are really going to drive the
industrial precious metals which are platinum and palladium,"
TIAA Bank's Gaffney said.              

 (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh in Bengaluru
Editing by Susan Fenton, David Evans and Alexander Smith)
  
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