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PRECIOUS-Gold steady as dollar slips; ECB in focus

Sept 8 (Reuters) - Gold held steady early on Thursday, after
dipping 0.3 percent in the prior session, as the dollar slipped
and investors awaited cues on monetary stimulus from a European
Central Bank policy meeting due later in the day.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was little changed at $1,346.40 an ounce
by 0105 GMT. 
    * U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,350.60.
    * The euro zone economy is widely expected to need more
stimulus from the European Central Bank, but it may not come at
the bank's policy meeting on Thursday. 
    * The case for a U.S. interest rate increase will be strong
when Federal Reserve policymakers meet later this month,
Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said on Wednesday.
 
    * The U.S. labor market could already be at full strength,
Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George said on
Wednesday. 
    * Raising U.S. interest rates makes sense now that the
economy is at full employment and "within sight" of the central
bank's 2-percent inflation goal, San Francisco Fed President
John Williams said on Tuesday. 
    * The U.S. economy expanded at a modest pace in July and
August, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday, but there was
little sign that wage pressures are being felt beyond highly
skilled jobs. 
    * The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, was down about 0.1 percent at
94.887
    * Turning fortunes for gold pushed withdrawals from
U.S.-based commodity funds to their highest levels since April,
Investment Company Institute data for the latest week showed on
Wednesday. 
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.03 percent to 951.81
tonnes on Wednesday. 
    * SocGen on Wednesday raised platinum and palladium price
forecasts. 
    * China's gold reserves rose to 58.95 million fine troy
ounces (oz) at the end of August, from 58.79 million fine troy
ounces at the end of July, the central bank said on Wednesday.
 
    * IEX Group, which rose to prominence with its bid to shake
up stock trading in the United States, now aims to do the same
in the more than $5 trillion-a-year gold market with a new
exchange being created by its spinoff TradeWind Markets, a board
member of the new venture said on Tuesday. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
 or 

    DATA AHEAD (GMT
    China Trade data August 
    1145 European Central Bank announces policy meeting outcome 
    1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims 
    1900 U.S Consumer credit July

 (Reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by
Richard Pullin)
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