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PRECIOUS-Gold rises on vaccine caution, surging virus cases

    * U.S. weekly jobless claims drop to seven-month low
    * Widening COVID outbreak in northeast U.S.
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
tmsnrt.rs/3mvcUoa

 (Updates prices)
    By Asha Sistla
    Nov 12 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Thursday on concern over the
logistics of a potential COVID-19 vaccine roll-out as U.S. cases
continued to surge, while hopes of more fiscal and monetary
stimulus offered support to the safe-haven metal.
    Spot gold        rose 0.7% to $1,877.36 per ounce by 01:49
p.m. EDT (1849 GMT), while U.S. gold futures        settled up
0.6% to $1,873.30.
    "The (gold) market is focused on stimulus and on the number
of COVID-19 cases, those are continuing to rise," said Phillip
Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in
Chicago.
    Regarding the vaccine, "we don't know how the distribution
is going to work. ... It seems like even if they had the
vaccine, they probably won't be aggressive on going out, getting
it," Streible added.
    The United States continued to notch up grim records, with a
worsening outbreak in the northeast of the country adding
pressure on top of an already reeling Midwest.             
    Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new
claims for unemployment benefits fell, but the pace of decline
has slowed and further improvement could be limited by a raging
COVID-19 pandemic.             
    Earlier this week, gold lost 4.6% as encouraging late-stage
vaccine trial data from Pfizer Inc         powered a surge in
equities and drove a sharp retreat in safe-haven bullion.
    Investor focus now shifts to speeches by the presidents of
the U.S. Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago and New York regarding
monetary stimulus and economic stability later in the day.
            
    Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures
because it is viewed as a hedge against inflation and currency
debasement.
    "Technically, gold price remains in the main lateral channel
between $1,850 and $2,070," ActivTrades' chief analyst, Carlo
Alberto De Casa, said in a note.
    "Gold is trading close to the lower end of that range and a
clear break down of this level could open space for further
declines."
    Silver        was up 0.1% at $24.28 an ounce. Platinum
       climbed 1.8% to $881.31, while palladium        gained
1.2% to $2,343.31.

 (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve
Orlofsky, Elaine Hardcastle and Richard Chang)
  
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