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PRECIOUS-Gold edges up on softer dollar, U.S. stimulus hopes

    Feb 9 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched up on Tuesday, as a
weaker dollar and hopes of a massive U.S. stimulus package to
support the virus-stricken economy boosted the precious metal's
appeal.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        rose 0.1% to $1,832.21 per ounce by 0042
GMT. U.S. gold futures        were steady at $1,834.60.
    * The dollar        hit a near one-week low in the previous
session.       
    * Investors remained focus on a $1.9 trillion U.S. COVID-19
relief package as lawmakers approved a budget outline that will
allow them to muscle President Joe Biden's plan through in the
coming weeks without Republican support.             
    * U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday the
$1.9 trillion stimulus plan can help the country get back to
full employment by next year.             
    * Gold is considered a hedge against inflation and currency
debasement, likely from widespread stimulus.
    * Further boosting sentiment, Bitcoin soared to a record
high after billionaire Elon Musk's electric vehicle company
Tesla Inc          on Monday revealed it had bought $1.5 billion
of the cryptocurrency and would soon accept it as a form of
payment for cars.             
    * Limiting gold's advance, however, benchmark U.S. Treasury
yields neared 11-month highs on Monday as U.S. fiscal stimulus
was seen boosting economic growth and spurring inflation.     
    * Higher yields increase the opportunity cost of holding
non-yielding bullion.
    * The United States reported a 25% drop in new cases of
COVID-19 last week, the biggest fall since the pandemic started,
while Britain recorded the smallest number of new COVID-19 cases
for two months on Monday.                        
    * Holdings in the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund SPDR Gold Trust       fell 0.35% to
1,152.43 tonnes on Monday.         
    * Spot silver        gained 0.3% to $27.34 an ounce,
platinum        rose 0.7% to $1,164.69 and palladium        was
steady at $2,330.99.

 (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika
Syamnath)
  
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