PRECIOUS-Gold holds steady as investors await Georgia runoffs verdict – Reuters UK

 (Recasts, adds comment, updates prices)
    * U.S. 10-year yields hit highest since March
    * Gold can reach $2,000 by end of month - analyst
    * Minutes of U.S. Fed's last policy meeting due at 1900 GMT

    By Sumita Layek
    Jan 6 (Reuters) - Gold held near its highest in nearly two
months on Wednesday, supported by a softer dollar as investors
awaited a verdict from the U.S. Senate run-off election in
Georgia.
    Spot gold        rose 0.1% to $1,951.31 per ounce by 0835
GMT, having hit a nearly two-month peak of $1,954.97 earlier in
the session. U.S. gold futures        eased 0.1% to $1,952.80.
    "The market is very reactive to the polls and liquidity is
pretty thin. (But) It will hoover up dips in gold regardless of
who wins because the general view right now is reflation trade,"
said Axi chief global market strategist Stephen Innes.
    Gold could still reach $2,000 by the month-end, Innes added.
    The U.S. dollar slipped as Democrats took the lead in runoff
votes that will determine control of the U.S. Senate and
possibly pave the way for a big spending administration under
President-elect Joe Biden.                    
    Bullion tends to gain from widespread stimulus measures
since investors consider it a hedge against possible inflation
that could result from the stimulus. 
    A weaker dollar also makes dollar-denominated commodities
cheaper for other currency holders. 
    Capping gold's gains, U.S. 10-year Treasury yields
            hit their highest since March.      
    Higher bond yields increase the opportunity cost of holding
non-interest bearing gold. 
    "We continue to be positive on gold. The macro backdrop that
supported gold last year extends into this year and key drivers
such as portfolio diversification into gold should have room to
extend this year, so that should continue to support prices,"
UBS strategist Joni Teves said.
    Investors will seek further guidance from minutes of the
U.S. Federal Reserve's Dec. 15-16 policy meeting, due at 1900
GMT.
    The Fed might decide to unleash more monetary stimulus once
it has a clearer picture of the make-up of the U.S. Congress,
said Howie Lee, an economist at OCBC Bank.
    Silver        shed 0.1% to $27.55 an ounce. Platinum       
fell 0.8% to $1,102.48, while palladium        rose 0.1% at
$2,469.18.

 (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj
Kalluvila and Barbara Lewis)