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PRECIOUS-Gold rises as economic uncertainty prevails, dollar softens

    * Spot gold up 0.7% for the week
    * Investors eye risks stemming from U.S. elections - analyst
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
here

 (Recasts, adds comments, updates prices)
    By Nakul Iyer
    Sept 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained on Friday buoyed by a
weaker dollar and lingering concerns over an economic recovery
from the damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic that were
underscored by elevated weekly U.S. jobless claims data.        
    Spot gold        climbed 0.6% to $1,953.80 per ounce by 0934
GMT and was on track for a second straight week of gains, rising
0.7% so far. 
    U.S. gold futures        were up 0.7% at $1,963.60 per
ounce.
    Gold is being propped up by the weaker dollar, but prices
are likely to remain "in a lateral range between $1860 and
$2000," said ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa.   
    "The scenario remains unchanged with the main trend still
positive."        
    U.S. weekly jobless claims report on Thursday showed a
smaller-then expected decline in new claims, weighing on the
dollar and bolstering the appeal of gold as an investment
alternative.                   
    "The path into the post-pandemic era still poses downside
risks for the global economy, and if crystallized, could help
bullion realize more of its upside," FXTM market analyst Han Tan
said. 
     Low interest rates globally and widespread stimulus
measures have helped gold gain over 28% so far this year, as
they lower the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion
and bolster its appeal as a hedge against inflation risk. 
    Continuing the trend, the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday
vowed to keep interest rates near zero for a long time.
            
    On Thursday, the Bank of England said it was considering
negative interest rates, while the Bank of Japan signalled
readiness to ramp up stimulus.                          
    With the focus now on the U.S. presidential election on Nov.
3, any delay over its outcome could reignite the safe-haven play
and potentially push gold to new record highs, FXTM's Tan said. 
    Silver        rose 0.1% to $27.13 per ounce, while platinum
       rose 0.5% to $944.69 and palladium        edged up by
0.1% to $2,337.81. 

 (Reporting by Nakul Iyer and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru
Editing by Ramakrishnan M and Tomasz Janowski)
  
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