PRECIOUS-Gold steady ahead of U.S. jobs data

Sept 2 (Reuters) - Gold held steady early on Friday after
falling to its lowest in over two months the session before,
with weak U.S. manufacturing data raising doubts on the
economy's strength ahead of closely-watched nonfarm payroll
    * Spot gold had edged up 0.1 percent to $1,315.16 per
ounce by 0058 GMT. The metal on Thursday touched its lowest
since June 24 at $1,301.91.
    * U.S. gold futures were nearly unchanged at
    * U.S. factory activity contracted in August for the first
time in six months as new orders and production tumbled, but a
low level of layoffs continued to point to a pickup in economic
growth in the third quarter. 
    * Other U.S. data showed initial claims for state
unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week,
pointing to sustained labour market strength. 
    * An upbeat nonfarm payrolls report on Friday would
reinforce the view that a U.S. rate hike may be on the cards,
after Fed officials sounded a hawkish note at a meeting last
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell for a third straight
session. Holdings dropped 0.57 percent to 937.89 tonnes on
    * Bolivia responded to last week's murder of a government
official by announcing a crackdown on mining cooperatives on
Thursday, saying it would return contracts signed between them
and private companies to state control. 
    * Barrick Gold Corp, the world's largest gold
miner, said on Thursday it had brought back a former executive
to advance a scaled-back development plan for its suspended
Pascua-Lama project that will first focus on Argentina.
    * Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (Implats), the
world's No.2 producer of the white metal, narrowed annual losses
to 70 million rand ($4.77 million). 
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    0900 Euro zone producer prices July 
    1230 U.S. nonfarm payrolls August 
    1230 U.S. unemployment rate August 
    1230 U.S. international trade July 
    1345 U.S. ISM-New York index August
    1400 U.S. factory orders July  

 (Reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph