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PRECIOUS-Gold steady as economic worries over virus spike offset trade optimism

    Aug 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices were mostly unchanged on
Wednesday, as worries over the global economic outlook from
rising COVID-19 cases offset an uptick in risk sentiment driven
by signs of progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was flat at $1,927.26 per ounce by 0037
GMT.
    * U.S. gold futures        rose 0.5% to $1,933.60.
    * Top U.S. and Chinese trade officials reaffirmed their
commitment to a Phase 1 trade deal, which has seen China lagging
on its obligations to buy American goods, giving a boost to
financial markets on Tuesday.
    * Asian stocks were set for a choppy session on Wednesday,
following a mixed Wall Street session.            
    * More than 23.77 million people have been reported to be
infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 814,072​ have
died, according to a Reuters tally.             
    * Underscoring the virus impact, a survey from the
Conference Board showed U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly
fell in August to hit a six-year low.             
    * Gold is used as a safe investment during times of
political and financial uncertainty.
    * Market participants now await a speech by U.S. Federal
Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday, when he is expected
to address the U.S. central bank's view on inflation and
monetary policy.
    * Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that the world's
second-biggest economy is facing a period of 'turbulent change'
and that rising external markets risk required policymakers to
increasingly rely on domestic demand to spur growth.
            
    * The dollar index        held steady against a basket of
major currencies.       
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.3% to 1,248.87
tonnes on Tuesday from 1,252.38 tonnes on Monday.          
    * Silver        was steady at $26.43 per ounce, platinum
       rose 0.1% to $928.12, and palladium        fell 0.6% to
$2,151.50. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
1230  US  Durable Goods   July

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Aich)
  
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