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PRECIOUS-Gold vaults above record $2,000/oz mark on U.S. stimulus bets
Published at 04/08/2020 at 21:31

* U.S. gold futures hit all-time high of $2,034.40/oz

* Democrats, White House move closer in COVID-19 stimulus talks

* Gold prices can hit $2,300 level by the year-end -analyst

* Silver jumps more than 7% to one-week high

(Adds graphics, updates prices)

By Sumita Layek

Aug 4 (Reuters) - Gold prices soared past the key $2,000 mark for the first time in history on Tuesday, as the ultra-low interest rate environment and hopes for more U.S. stimulus to safeguard the coronavirus-hit economy enhanced the safe-haven metal's appeal.

Spot gold jumped as much as 2% to $2,017.39 an ounce by 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT). U.S. gold futures , which also surged to a record peak of $2,034.40, settled 1.7% higher at $2,021.

"Safe-haven buying has propelled gold prices to breach $2,000 for the first time as the U.S. dollar tested lows last seen over two years ago, negative real rates fell to levels last seen in 2013 and expectations for further stimulus packages continue to build," said Standard Chartered analyst Suki Cooper.

"Given how quickly prices have rallied, the risk of a temporary pullback has risen," Cooper said, adding the balance of risks still remain skewed to the upside in light of the macro backdrop remaining "exceptionally favourable."

Talks between White House and Democratic leaders in the U.S. Congress were finally moving in the "right direction" as they tried to reach an agreement over a major coronavirus relief bill, a U.S. Senate's top Democrat said.

The confirmation that there has been development in negotiations with Republicans on new COVID-19 support has boosted gold back to recent highs, said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO.

Bullion has surged a stellar 33% so far this year, supported mainly by lower interest rates and widespread stimulus by global central banks to ease the economic blow from the pandemic.

Prices can rally towards the $2,300 level by the year-end, according to Edward Moya, senior market analyst at broker OANDA.

"The treasury market is strongly signalling that this lower interest rate environment is here to stay. In the last decade, treasuries always had the edge over gold but right now that's not the case, we're going to see investors' primary focus be on gold."

Other precious metals also followed suit, with silver

rallying as much as 7.3% to a one-week peak of $26 an ounce on upbeat factory data.

Platinum rose 2.2% to $936.71 and palladium rose 2.2% to $2,129.17.

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(Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Swati Verma Editing by Marguerita Choy and Matthew Lewis)

((Sumita.Layek@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 8061822693; Reuters Messaging: Sumita.Layek.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))