PRECIOUS-Gold eyes best month in four years on virus anxiety, soft dollar

    July 31 (Reuters) - Gold prices on Friday were on track for
their best month in more than four years, as a weaker dollar and
worries over the global economic fallout from the mounting
COVID-19 cases drove investors towards the safe-haven metal.
    * Spot gold        was steady at $1,958.99 per ounce by 0029
GMT. Bullion rose 10% so far this month, its biggest percentage
rise since February 2016. The metal was also on track for its
eighth straight weekly gain.
    * U.S. gold futures        rose 0.5% to $1,953.
    * The dollar index        fell 0.3% to a more than two-year
low against its rivals after U.S. President Donald Trump
suggested an election delay. A weaker dollar makes gold cheaper
for holders of others currencies.                    
    * More than 17.15 million people have been reported to be
infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 668,419​ have
died, according to a Reuters tally.             
    * A spike in COVID-19 cases in the United States has dented
hopes for a quick economic recovery, driving inflows into
safe-haven assets such as gold, which has risen more than 28% so
far this year.
    * Gold is often used as a safe store of value during times
of political and financial uncertainty.
    * Underscoring impact from the virus, U.S. GDP collapsed at
a 32.9% annualized rate during the second quarter, the deepest
decline in output since the government started keeping records
in 1947, the Commerce Department said.             
    * Meanwhile, Japan's industrial output rose 2.7% in June
from the previous month to mark the first advance in five
months, government data showed on Friday.             
    * Silver        slipped 0.7% to $23.39 per ounce, platinum
       eased 0.2% to $901.27 and palladium        dropped 0.8%
to $2,065.33.
0100  China  NBS Manufacturing PMI           July
0530  France  GDP Preliminary QQ             Q2
0900  EU      GDP Flash Prelim YY, QQ        Q2
1230  US      Consumption, Adjusted MM       June

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry