PRECIOUS-Gold holds near 3-1/2 week low on Fed rate hike prospects

BENGALURU, May 24 (Reuters) - Gold slipped in early trade on
Tuesday to trade near a 3-1/2 week low hit a day earlier, as
prices remained under pressure on expectations that the U.S.
Federal Reserve will increase interest rates as early as June. 

    * Spot gold edged down 0.1 percent to $1,247.30 per
ounce by 0056 GMT. The metal fell to $1,242.63 an ounce, the
lowest since April 28 on Monday. 
    * U.S. gold futures dipped 0.3 percent to $1,248 per
ounce early on Tuesday 
    * San Francisco Fed President John Williams said the central
bank is on track to hike rates in June or July despite risks
such as a "Brexit" vote, and will continue with even more
increases next year given U.S. economic strength, a top Fed
official said on Monday. 
    * U.S. rates being kept too low for too long could cause
financial instability in future and stronger market expectations
for a rate rise are "probably good", St. Louis Federal Reserve
President James Bullard said on Monday. 
    * Goldman Sachs economists said on Monday they estimated a
35 percent chance the Federal Reserve would raise its target on
the federal funds rate at its June 14-15 policy meeting.
    * Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.38 percent to 872.52
tonnes on Monday. 
    * The dollar index held steady and the greenback was firm at
109.260 yen, having fallen to as low as 109.120
    * Russia's largest gold producer, Polyus, has
evacuated 89 out of 153 of its miners blocked after a landslide
at the Vostochny pit of its Olimpiada mine in Siberia, the
company said. 
    * The Fed's policymakers are scheduled to speak this week
and are expected to back the case for a rate hike within months.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen will be at a panel event hosted by
Harvard University on Friday. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
    * Asian shares were nearly flat in early trading on Tuesday,
while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 did not stray far from its previous close, after
Wall Street closed with modest losses overnight. 

    Day ahead (GMT) 
    0600  Germany  Detailed GDP               Q1 
    0645  France  Business climate           May 
    0900  Germany ZEW economic sentiment     May 
    1400  U.S. New home sales                Apr 
    1400  U.S. Richmond Fed composite index  May 

 (Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Ed