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PRECIOUS-Gold slips as firmer dollar, recovery hopes dent appeal

 (Recasts, adds comments, updates prices)
    * Markets eye Biden's infrastructure spending plans on
Wednesday
    * Dollar firms near multi-month peak
    * Palladium fell as much as 4.4% in the session
    * Russia's Nornickel halts water inflow at two major mines

    By Brijesh Patel
    March 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices slipped on Monday as a
stronger U.S. dollar and hopes for a swift global economic
recovery dented demand for safe-haven bullion.
    Spot gold        was down 0.4% at $1,725.50 per ounce by
1201 GMT. U.S. gold futures        fell 0.5% to $1,724.50.
    "Gold is suffering a little bit on back of a firmer
greenback and slightly stronger equity market. We are also
seeing some end-of-the-month profit-taking," said CMC Markets
UK's chief market analyst, Michael Hewson.
    "As we head into the end of the month and quarter, gold is
not going to move that much even though U.S. yields are slightly
softer," Hewson said, adding he sees gold range-bound between
$1,680 and $1,760 per ounce.
    The dollar index        held firm near four-month highs
against its rivals. Gold's safe-haven demand was also hurt as
investors' appetite for riskier assets grew.             
    Market participants are now waiting for U.S. President Joe
Biden's infrastructure spending package on Wednesday, which is
speculated to be in the $3 trillion to $4 trillion range.
            
    Some investors view gold as a hedge against higher inflation
that could follow stimulus measures, but a recent spike is U.S.
Treasury yields has weighed on the non-yielding commodity.      
    "We see virtually no scope for noticeably higher prices
until mid-year, though gold should be able to make significant
gains in the second half of the year," Commerzbank analysts
wrote in a note.
    "Gold is currently lacking the support of financial
investors, as buying interest is low."                       
    Meanwhile, palladium        dropped as much as 4.4% to
$2,557.44 per ounce to a one-week low in the session.
    Russia's Nornickel Nickel          , the top producer of
palladium, on Monday said it had stopped water flowing into its
two major mines in the Siberian Arctic and both were on track to
fully resume production in the coming months.             
    Platinum        was down 0.5% at $1,179 per ounce and silver
       fell 0.9% to $24.81.

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel and Asha Sistla in Bengaluru;
editing by David Evans and Steve Orlofsky)
  
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