PRECIOUS-Gold holds steady on weaker dollar

Aug 11 (Reuters) - Gold held steady early on Thursday after
rising slightly in the previous session, with lower expectations
for a U.S. rate hike weighing on the dollar.
    * Spot gold was largely unchanged at $1,345.80 an
ounce at 0048 GMT. It ended Wednesday up 0.4 percent.
    * U.S. gold was also steady at $1,351.60 an ounce.
    * The U.S. dollar struggled to gain traction, amid doubts
over whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this
year. The dollar index, which measures the greenback's value
against a basket of major currencies, last traded at 95.554
, holding within sight of a near one-week low of 95.442
set on Wednesday.
    * U.S. job openings increased in June and layoffs dropped to
their lowest in nearly two years as labour market conditions
tightened further, according a government report on Wednesday.
    * British housing market activity ebbed the month following
the vote to leave the European Union, with gauges of house price
growth and transactions falling to the lowest level in years, a
survey showed on Thursday. 
    * Gold consumption in China and India, the world's top two
buyers, is set to drop 15 to 20 percent in 2016 after lower
investment demand and jewellery sales, said an official at a
leading importing bank. 
    * Alternative investments such as a Ferrari 335 S
Scaglietti, a rare blue diamond or a case of Romanee-Conti Grand
Cru wine from Burgundy are going mainstream as investors grapple
with ultra-low interest rates and volatile stocks. 
    * Gold miner Centamin Plc raised its production
guidance for 2016, aided by rising output from its Sukari mine
in Egypt, and said its second-quarter core profit more than
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    * Asian shares fell on Thursday, reversing recent gains as
investors took profits after Wall Street declined overnight.
    * Oil prices fell around 2 percent on Wednesday after the
second-biggest weekly draw in U.S. gasoline this summer was
countered by an unseasonal build in crude stockpiles. 
    1230 U.S. Import prices July
    1230 U.S. Export prices July
    1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph