BENGALURU, June 9 (Reuters) - Gold hit a fresh three week high early Thursday, after jumping 1.5 percent overnight, helped by a weaker dollar and diminishing expectations of an interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve at its meeting next week. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,262.26 an ounce by 0054 GMT, having earlier hit $1,266.01, its best since May 18. * The safe haven asset, which climbed about 1.5 percent on Wednesday, has gained about 19 percent in 2016 so far. * U.S. gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,265.20 * The dollar index inched 0.1 percent lower to 93.511 , not far from a five-week low of 93.425 plumbed on Wednesday. * Signs are emerging that a downturn in the United States and China, the world's two biggest economies, may have bottomed out, the OECD's monthly leading indicator showed on Wednesday. * Japan's core machinery orders tumbled 11.0 percent in April from the previous month, Cabinet Office data showed on Thursday, in a sign that business investment is contracting. * Russia produced 67.75 tonnes of gold in January-April 2016, up from 63.27 tonnes in the same period last year, the finance ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. * For the first time in five years, Barrick Gold and other bullion miners are getting ready to expand, breaking from their monologue on cutting costs and debt because of tumbling gold prices. * Workers belonging to the major union at South Africa's Northam Platinum said on Wednesday they would not resume work at its Zondereinde mine until arrests were made for a spate of murders. * For the top stories on metals and other news, click or MARKET REPORT * Asian stocks edged up on Thursday after Wall Street gained overnight, while a weaker dollar buoyed commodities such as gold and crude oil. * Crude futures rose on Wednesday, hitting 2016 highs above $50 a barrel and settling up for a third straight day on worries about sabotage of oil facilities in Nigeria, although a build in U.S. gasoline stocks amid peak summer demand could pressure prices. DATA AHEAD (GMT) 0130 China consumer prices May 0130 China producer prices May 0600 Germany trade data Apr 1230 U.S. weekly jobless claims 1400 U.S. wholesale inventories Apr (Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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