July 29, 2020 / 1:36 AM / in 11 days

PRECIOUS-Gold steadies on virus fears, stimulus bets; Fed meet eyed

    July 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices steadied on Wednesday as
worries over rising cases of COVID-19 and expectations of
possible inflation from more stimulus measures underpinned the
metal, while investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's
meeting outcome later in the day.
    * Spot gold        was little changed at $1,957.84 per ounce
by 0049 GMT. Prices hit an all-time of $1,980.57 on Tuesday
before retreating after investors booked profits and the dollar
regained some ground.       
    * U.S. gold futures        rose 0.5% to $1,954.50.
    * A Reuters tally showed more than 16.62 million people were
infected with COVID-19, including 655,583 deaths. Cases
continued to surge in the United States, with four states in the
South and West reporting one-day records for virus-related
deaths on Tuesday.                          
    * Underscoring the economic impact from the virus, data on
Tuesday showed that U.S. consumer confidence fell more than
expected in July.             
    * Market participants are now looking at the U.S. Fed's
two-day policy meeting, which ends on Wednesday.
    * Gold tends to gain when interest rates are low, which
reduces the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
Gold is also seen as a hedge against inflation.
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.7% to 1,243.12
tonnes on Tuesday.          
    * Meanwhile, Republicans in the White House and the U.S.
Congress were in disarray over their own plan for providing $1
trillion in new coronavirus aid, as negotiations aimed at
reaching a compromise bill with Democrats also sputtered.
    * Asian equities pulled backed on Wednesday as an impasse in
U.S. economic stimulus negotiations pushed global stocks lower.
    * Silver        dropped 1.1% to $24.31 per ounce, platinum
       fell 0.1% to $947.29 and palladium        slipped 1.1% to

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; editing by
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