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PRECIOUS-Gold gains on stimulus bets; Powell's speech in focus

    * Dollar eases 0.1% 
    * Silver rises over 3%
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
open
tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    By K. Sathya Narayanan
    Aug 26 (Reuters) - Gold jumped over 1% on Wednesday as the
dollar slipped on the eve of a speech from Federal Reserve
Chairman Jerome Powell, and as investors bet on further stimulus
to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
    Spot gold        rose 1% to $1,948.07 per ounce by 02:18
p.m. EDT (1818 GMT), after declining to a two-week low early in
the session. U.S. gold futures        settled up 1.5% at
$1,952.50.
    "The dollar is showing a little bit of weakness. They
(investors) are trading on hopes and expectations that there is
further stimulus to come," said Jeffrey Christian, managing
partner of CPM Group.
    The dollar        eased 0.1% against key rivals, making gold
cheaper for investors holding other currencies.       
    Powell is set to speak at a virtual Jackson Hole symposium
on Thursday, where he is expected to offer more insight on the
U.S. central bank's strategy on inflation and monetary policy.
            
    Last week's Fed minutes gave few clues about whether a shift
to easier policy is possible in coming months.             
    Global central banks and governments have released massive
stimulus to prop up their economies from the impact of the
pandemic. This has pushed gold up about 28% so far this year as
it is seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.
    "Investors are waiting for something to come from the U.S.
Treasury, and for (the U.S.) Congress to come to an agreement
(on the stimulus bill)," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market
strategist at RJO Futures, adding that further dovishness from
the Fed will also be bullish for gold.
    Investors were watching for any developments in the U.S.
coronavirus aid negotiations. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven
Mnuchin will testify before a House of Representatives panel
next week.             
    Silver        rose 3.5% to $27.34 an ounce, platinum       
was up 0.3% to $929.91 and palladium        gained 0.9% to
$2,183.43.

 (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by
David Gregorio, Tom Brown and Richard Chang)
  
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