Gold prices held steady near record highs on Thursday as a weaker U.S. dollar and hopes of more stimulus measures to mitigate the economic fallout from the pandemic underpinned the metal's safe-haven appeal.
* Spot gold was steady at $2,039.75 per ounce by 0042 GMT, after hitting an all-time high of $2,055.10 on Wednesday.
* U.S. gold futures rose 0.3% to $2,055.90.
* The dollar index fell 0.2% to hold close to a more than two-year low against its rivals, making gold less expensive for holders of other currencies.
* The U.S. government bond yield curve steepened on Wednesday as prices fell on the prospect of increased supply in longer-dated debt.
* More than 18.66 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally, while death toll surpassed 700,000 on Wednesday, with the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico leading the rise in fatalities.
* The rapid rise in cases has dented hopes of a swift economic rebound, driving inflows into safe-haven assets such as gold, which has risen more than 34% so far this year.
* U.S. private payrolls growth slowed sharply in July, pointing to a loss of momentum in the labor market and overall economic recovery as new COVID-19 infections spread across the country.
* Top congressional Democrats and White House officials appeared to harden their stances on new coronavirus relief legislation, as negotiations headed toward an end-of-week deadline with no sign of an agreement.
* SPDR Gold Trust GLD, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.8% to 1,267.96 tonnes on Wednesday.
* Silver fell 0.4% to $26.91 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.4% to $970.67 and palladium was steady at $2,181.77.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0600 UK BOE Bank Rate July 1230 US Initial Jobless Claims Weekly
(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips) ((Brijesh.Patel1@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 651 848 5832, Outside U.S. +91 8067493865; Reuters Messaging: Brijesh.Patel1.email@example.com))