PRECIOUS-Gold firms as dollar slides to multi-year low
* Dollar hits lowest level since April 2018
* First case of new virus variant detected in the United States
* Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: https://tmsnrt.rs/3mvcUoa
By Asha Sistla
Dec 30 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday, as the prospect of increased fiscal aid pushed the dollar to its lowest in more than two years, although global COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and increased risk appetite limited bullion's gains.
Spot gold XAU= rose 0.7% to $1,890.61 per ounce by 1:47 p.m. EST (1847 GMT). U.S. gold futures GCv1 settled up 0.6% at $1,893.40.
"The U.S. dollar index touched a new low - that's working in favour of the gold and silver markets," said Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff.
"However, upbeat risk appetite in the market place, evident by stock indexes at or near record highs is tempering buying enthusiasm. You've got this tug and pull at work right now."
The dollar index .DXY touched a low since April 2018 following U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to delay a vote on increasing COVID-19 relief checks to $2,000. USD/
U.S. stocks rose on hopes of additional fiscal stimulus and on optimism over vaccine rollouts, as Britain became the first country to approve a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca AZN.L and Oxford University. .N bigger picture is that gold is still holding up incredibly well at these price levels and the fiscal and monetary stimulus will still be there in 2021 as the pandemic is hitting hard in the U.S., Europe," said Bank of China International analyst Xiao Fu.
Investors await the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff elections that will determine which political party will control the U.S. Senate, with expectations for more stimulus under a Democrat-controlled Senate and House. is seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement likely to result from large stimulus measures.
Among other precious metals, silver XAG= rose 1.1% to $26.46 an ounce, platinum XPT= gained 1.5% to $1,065.26 and palladium XPD= climbed 1.9% to $2,371.25.
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