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Gold Prices Increase as US Dollar Stays on Back Foot

Gold prices inched higher on Monday, helped by a soft dollar ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting this week, while palladium held below a record peak scaled last week.

Spot gold was up 0.1percent at $1,779.36 per ounce by 0127 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.1percent to $1,780.10 per ounce.

Palladium was up 0.1percent at $2,857.01 per ounce. It back foot had hit a record high of $2,925.14 on Friday.

The dollar index nursed losses against its rivals, making gold less expensive for other currency holders.

U.S. factory activity powered ahead in early April, while retail sales jumped to a record in March and hiring accelerated.

Investors poured $16.4 billion into global bond funds and $14.9 billion into money market funds in the week ended April 21, according to Refinitiv Lipper data, as concerns about a global rise in COVID-19 cases prompted moves towards safer assets.

A partnership between miners Newmont and Barrick in Chile said on Friday it would work with local communities to boost development of its Norte Abierto gold-copper project despite a setback in the courts this week.

Speculators raised their bullish positions in COMEX gold in the week to April 20, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.

India's physical gold demand faltered last week as strict restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 kept buyers away.

Zimbabwe's gold production fell 30percent to 3.98 tonnes in the first quarter of this year, central bank data showed.

Silver rose 0.2percent to $26.04 per ounce. Platinum was up 0.3percent at $1,233.48.

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