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PRECIOUS-Gold steady, set for biggest weekly gain in two months

Sept 23 (Reuters) - Gold was little changed early Friday,
but remained set for the biggest weekly gain in nearly two
months after rising to a two-week high in the previous session. 
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    
    * Spot gold was steady at $1,337.60 an ounce by 0109
GMT, on track for a 2 percent rise this week, its biggest gain
since late July.
    * U.S. gold futures were down 0.3 percent at
$1,341.20 an ounce.
    * The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits
unexpectedly fell last week to a two-month low, pointing to
labor market strength that could pave the way for the Federal
Reserve to raise interest rates by December. 
    * Bank of England policymaker Kristin Forbes said she did
not see a case for a further interest rate cut to help Britain's
economy after June's vote to leave the European Union, putting
her at odds with the majority of her fellow rate-setters.
 
    * The European Central Bank needs to have a flexible
approach over the time needed to reach its inflation objective
to ensure its policies are aligned with financial stability
objectives, Governing Council Klaas Knot said on Thursday.
 
    * By dallying over raising interest rates the U.S. Federal
Reserve made it easier this week for central banks in the Asia
Pacific to stay dovish, with Indonesia lowering rates on
Thursday and Australia and New Zealand saying they could cut
later. 
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.69 percent to 950.92
tonnes on Thursday. 
    * A Ugandan company backed by a Belgian investor is due to
open the East African country's first gold refinery by the end
of this year to process raw gold produced mainly from the
region, a senior company official told Reuters. 
    * Morocco's biggest mining company Managem posted a
63 percent drop in first-half net profit to 52 million dirhams
($5.35 million) on Thursday, citing weak global commodities
prices. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
 or 
    
    DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)
     0700   France    Markit manufacturing PMI flash   September
     0700   France    Markit services PMI flash        September
     0730   Germany   Markit manufacturing PMI flash   September
     0730   Germany   Markit services PMI flash        September
     0800   Euro zone Markit manufacturing PMI flash   September
     0800   Euro zone Markit services PMI flash        September
     1345   U.S.      Markit manufacturing PMI flash   September

 (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon
Cameron-Moore)
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