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PRECIOUS-Gold hits record high as virus fears, weaker dollar boost demand

    Aug 3 (Reuters) - Gold rose to an all-time high on Monday as
a softer U.S dollar and fears over the global economic fallout
from surging coronavirus cases lifted demand for the safe-haven
metal.
                                   
    FUNDAMENTALS    
    * Spot gold        was up 0.1% at $1,976.47 per ounce by
0028 GMT, after hitting a record high of $1,984.66 in early
Asian trade.
    * U.S. gold futures        rose 0.5% to $1,996.30.
    * The coronavirus has infected 4.6 million people in the
United States and more than 17.96 million people globally.
            
    * The United States is in a new phase of the novel
coronavirus outbreak with infections "extraordinarily
widespread" in rural areas as well as cities, White House
coronavirus experts said on Sunday.             
    * Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he
was not optimistic on reaching agreement soon on a deal for the
next round of legislation to provide relief to Americans hit
hard by the pandemic.             
    * The dollar index        held close to a more than two-year
low against its rivals, making gold less expensive for holders
of other currencies.       
    * Asian shares made a cautious start to the new month on
Monday.            
    * On the physical side, Chinese gold dealers were forced to
offer the steepest-ever discounts last week as demand plunged.
        
    * Speculators reduced their bullish positions in COMEX gold
and silver contracts in the week to July 28, the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.             
    * Silver        eased 0.1% to $24.35 per ounce, platinum
       fell 0.8% to $899.90 and palladium        dropped 1.1% to
$2,068.98.
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
0800  EU       Markit Mfg Final PMI
1345  US       Markit Mfg PMI Final
1400  US       ISM Manufacturing PMI

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya
Soni)
  
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