BENGALURU, July 21 (Reuters) - Gold held steady early on Friday and was on track for a second consecutive weekly gain after easing from a three-week high hit in the previous session. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold edged down 0.04 percent to $1,243.80 per ounce at 0049 GMT after touching a three-week high on $1,247.48 an ounce in the previous session. It has risen about 1.3 percent for the week so far. * U.S. gold futures for August delivery fell 0.15 percent to $1,243.60 per ounce. * The dollar headed for weekly losses on Friday, wallowing at its lowest levels against the euro in nearly two years after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said policymakers would discuss changing its bond-buying programme in the autumn. * The ECB left its ultra easy monetary policy unchanged on Thursday and did not even discuss clawing back stimulus, suggesting it may delay an inevitable decision on tapering bond buys until the latest possible moment. * The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, touching its lowest level in nearly five months, suggesting strong job gains that should continue to underpin economic growth. * The European Union and Britain offered few compromises at their first full round of Brexit talks which ended on Thursday, and the pound fell on worries that British ministers were prepared to walk away without a deal. * The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Thursday but once again pushed back the timing for achieving its ambitious inflation target, reinforcing views it will lag well behind other major central banks in scaling back its massive stimulus programme. * Expectations are firming for major central banks to turn further away from ultra-easy monetary policy despite scant evidence of a pickup in inflation, Reuters polls of more than 500 economists showed on Thursday. * India's Paytm plans to sell 5 tonnes of gold valued around $200 million this year, the digital payments firm said on Friday, as it strives to develop a viable business from its e-wallet platform. * U.S. Senate Republicans, scolded by President Donald Trump for failing to overturn Obamacare, tried to salvage their seven-year effort for a new healthcare law on Thursday, but leading senators indicated frustration over shifting goal posts. DATA AHEAD 1430 U.S. ECRI weekly index (Reporting by Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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