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PRECIOUS-Gold rises as dollar softens; U.S. Senate vote on increased aid eyed

    Dec 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Tuesday as the dollar
eased, while investors kept a close watch on a U.S. Senate vote
on increased pandemic aid checks to individuals. 

    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        rose 0.5% to $1,880.06 per ounce by 0108
GMT, after closing slightly lower in the last session. On
Monday, the metal had climbed as much 1.3% after the passage of
a near $900 billion U.S. stimulus package.   
    * U.S. gold futures        were up 0.1% to $1,882.20.
    * Against a basket of currencies, the dollar        dipped,
raising gold's appeal to other currency holders.       
    * The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives voted in
favour of President Donald Trump's demand for $2,000 COVID-19
relief checks on Monday, sending the measure on to an uncertain
future in the Republican-controlled Senate.             
    * Gold, seen as a hedge against inflation, has gained more
than 24% this year, largely driven by a raft of stimulus
measures unleashed to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.  
   * The distribution of an initial 200 million doses of the
COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer         and BioNTech
           across the European Union will be completed by
September.               
   * Hedge funds and money managers raised bullish positions in
COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to Dec. 21, the U.S.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Monday.
             
   * Holdings in SPDR's Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.2% to 1,169.86 tonnes
on Monday from 1,167.53 tonnes on Thursday.                 
   * China's net gold imports via Hong Kong rebounded about 82%
in November after a plunge in October, Hong Kong Census and
Statistics Department data showed on Monday.             
   * Silver        rose 1.3% to $26.50 an ounce. Platinum       
climbed 0.7% to $1,038.46 and palladium        gained 0.8% to
$2,342.79. 

 (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu
Sahu)
  
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