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PRECIOUS-Gold steady as inflation bets counter firm U.S. dollar, yields

    April 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Monday,
buoyed by concerns over inflation after U.S. President Joe Biden
announced a $2 trillion-plus jobs plan last week, while a
stronger dollar and elevated U.S. Treasury yields limited
bullion's upside.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was flat at $1,728.60 per ounce, as of
0146 GMT. Gold futures        edged up 0.1% to $1,729.50 per
ounce.
    * The U.S. economy created the most jobs in seven months in
March as more Americans got vaccinated and the government doled
out additional pandemic relief money, marking the start of what
could be the strongest economic performance this year in nearly
four decades.             
    * Shorter-dated U.S. Treasury yields held near 14-month
peak, while the dollar was poised to extend gains against major
currencies on Monday after the U.S Labor Department reported
stronger-than-forecast jobs growth in March.      
    * Gold is seen as a hedge against rising inflation, but
firmer Treasury yields, which translate into a higher
opportunity cost for holding bullion, have challenged that
status.
    * Despite the strong numbers the data will not alter the
Federal Reserve's stance on monetary policy, Steven Ricchiuto,
U.S. chief economist at Mizuho Securities USA in New York said.
           
    * President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan
initiatives that are widely popular, according to a
Reuters/Ipsos poll, but U.S. public support declines when the
initiatives are packed into a Democratic bill and sold as a
Biden-backed plan.             
    * However, new COVID-19 restrictions in France will impact
economic growth this year but it is too early to say by how
much, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday.
            
    * Japan's services sector activity fell in March, a private
survey showed, but taking some shine off the precious metal were
signs that the pace of the downturn was the slowest since
January 2020.             
    * Money managers in the gold, silver and copper markets cut
their net long futures and options positions in the latest week,
according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
       
    * Silver        rose 0.2% to $25.01, while platinum       
climbed 0.4% to $1,214.03 and palladium        was trading flat
at $2,666.43.
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
    0500  India   IHS Markit Mfg PMI            March
    0600  Russia  Markit Services PMI           March
    1345  US      Markit Comp, Svcs PMI Final   March
    1400  US      Factory Orders MM             Feb
    1400  US      ISM N-Mfg PMI                 March

 (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
Jacob-Phillips)
  
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