Sept 3 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher on Thursday following a steep fall in the previous session, as a weaker U.S. dollar and worries over the global economic outlook due to rising COVID-19 cases underpinned the metal's appeal. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold inched up 0.1% to $1,944.58 per ounce by 0059 GMT, after falling 1.4% on Wednesday. * U.S. gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,950.60. * The dollar index fell 0.1% after a significant rise in the last session, making gold less expensive for holders of other currencies. * U.S. private employers hired fewer workers than expected for a second straight month in August, suggesting that the labor market recovery was slowing as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. * U.S. business activity and employment ticked up through late August, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday, but economic growth was generally sluggish as COVID-19 hotspots hampered reopening efforts that fueled an early-summer rebound. * Gold is used as a safe investment during times of political and financial uncertainty. * More than 25.88 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 857,881 have died, according to a Reuters tally. * Asian equities were set to open higher on Thursday. * Market participants now await readings on services activity in China and the initial U.S. jobless claims report due later in the day, as well as U.S. payroll figures on Friday. * Silver eased 0.1% to $27.48 per ounce, platinum rose 0.1% to $906.69 and palladium fell 0.3% to $2,241.10. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0145 China Caixin Services PMI Aug 0800 EU Markit Serv, Comp Final PMIs Aug 1230 US International Trade July 1230 US Initial Jobless Clm Weekly 1345 US Markit Serv, Comp Final PMIs Aug 1400 US ISM N-Mfg PMI Aug (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)
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