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PRECIOUS-Gold slides over 1% as dollar, yields advance

 (Updates prices)
    * Markets eye Biden's infrastructure spending plan on
Wednesday
    * Dollar firms near multi-month peak
    * Palladium drops to over one-week trough
    * Russia's Nornickel halts water inflow at two major mines

    By Shreyansi Singh
    March 29 (Reuters) - Gold slipped more than 1% to an over
two-week low on Monday as a firm dollar and rising U.S. Treasury
yields dented the safe-haven metal's appeal, also pressured by
bets for a swift economic recovery in the United States.
    Spot gold        fell 1.1% to $1,713.36 per ounce by 1:47
p.m. EDT (1747 GMT).  U.S. gold futures        settled down 1.2%
at $1,712.20.
    "The gold and silver market bulls need a fundamental spark,"
said Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff, adding a
resurgence in U.S. dollar and elevated yields are limiting
buying interest.
    The dollar index        firmed against rivals, hurting
greenback-denominated gold's appeal for investors holding other
currencies.           
    The rapid recovery of the U.S. economy, with vaccine numbers
ramping up and U.S. President Joe Biden's announcement this
week, is a near term negative for gold prices, Wyckoff added.
    Biden will release details on a infrastructure spending
package that could be between $3 and $4 trillion on Wednesday.
            
    Higher yields have also challenged gold's status as an
inflation hedge since they translate into higher opportunity
costs of holding the non-yielding bullion.      
    "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.
    Meanwhile, palladium        slipped 5.1% to $2,537.92,
having earlier dropped to an over one-week low of $2,515.
    Russia's Nornickel Nickel          , the world's largest
palladium producer, 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 coming months.             
    Palladium could outperform other precious metals given that 
a larger-than-anticipated disruption in the Arctic mines will
further erode the global stockpile, TD Securities said in a
note.
    Platinum        was down 0.5% at $1,179.00 per ounce and
silver        fell 1.3% to $24.71.

 (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru,
additional reporting by Nakul Iyer
Editing by Marguerita Choy)
  
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