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PRECIOUS-Gold firms as Mnuchin rekindles U.S. stimulus hopes

    * Gold down 0.8% for the week
    * Investors pulled $4 billion from gold- BofA
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
tmsnrt.rs/3mvcUoa

 (Updates prices)
    By Sumita Layek
    Nov 20 (Reuters) - Gold edged higher on Friday after U.S.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin signalled that negotiations on
stimulus measures will continue, boosting the metal's appeal as
a hedge against likely inflation.   
    Spot gold        rose 0.3% to $1,872.95 per ounce by 01:56
p.m. EST (1856 GMT), but was down 0.8% for the week. U.S. gold
futures        settled up 0.7% to $1,872.40.
    Mnuchin said he and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
would be speaking on Friday with Republican congressional
leaders on negotiations with Congress on more economic support.
            
    "The thought of stimulus talks moving forward once again has
supported gold as we realise central bank liquidity and fiscal
stimulus measures continue to be a driving force behind this
market," said David Meger, director of metals trading at High
Ridge Futures.
    Bullion has dipped about 5% since positive reports on 
COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna in the past 12 days.
Gold has mainly benefited this year on the back of damage to
economies from the pandemic and the resultant global stimulus.
    But gold will remain supported as "vaccines will take months
and months to become well distributed enough to be effective and
the U.S. government is going to continue to be stalemated," said
Jeffrey Christian, managing partner of CPM Group. 
    Investors pulled $4 billion from gold, the biggest outflow
ever, amid a rush for riskier assets last week, BofA said on
Friday.                      
    "While the macro backdrop remains supportive, the key
downside risk stems from physical demand and ETP
(exchange-traded products) holdings," said Standard Chartered
analyst Suki Cooper in a note.
    "Buyers still appear to view price dips below $1,860/oz as
attractive entry levels, and prices have held up well given the
size of ETP outflows."
    Silver        rose 0.8% to $24.27 per ounce. Platinum       
eased 0.2% at $949.93, while palladium        was steady at
$2,325.60.

 (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru
Editing by Frances Kerry and Marguerita Choy)
  
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