Dec 24 (Reuters) - Gold prices steadied on Thursday as investors balanced elevated U.S. jobless claims that undermined a nascent economic recovery with U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to veto a long-awaited stimulus bill.
* In a video posted to social media on Tuesday evening, Trump demanded lawmakers change the coronavirus aid part of the spending bill to include $2,000 payments to each American, more than triple the $600 per person provided. Gold has gained more than 23% this year, largely driven by its appeal as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement in the wake of unprecedented stimulus measures unveiled to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
* Data on Wednesday showed the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, though remained elevated. Data also showed consumer spending slipped in November for the first time since the recovery from the coronavirus recession started in May and personal income fell 1.1%.
* Millions of COVID-19 vaccines are sitting unused in U.S. hospitals and elsewhere, putting the government's target for 20 million vaccinations this month in doubt as pandemic cases in the country top 18 million. The British government on Wednesday said huge swathes of England would be placed under its strictest COVID-19 restrictions as a highly infectious virus variant sweeps the country. Britain and the European Union appeared close to clinching a long-elusive trade agreement on Wednesday, raising hopes that they were now set to avoid a turbulent economic rupture on New Year's Day. Silver XAG= rose 1% to $25.38 an ounce. Platinum XPT= climbed 0.5% to $1,007.11 and palladium XPD= gained 0.2% to $2,318.12.
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