PRECIOUS-Gold under pressure on Yellen's support for rate hikes

Jan 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices on Thursday held on to their
losses from the previous session, when they fell 1 percent on a
strong dollar, after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
advocated lifting U.S. interest rates gradually.
    * Spot gold was largely flat at $1,203 per ounce by
0100 GMT. The bullion hit an eight-week high of $1,218.64 on
Tuesday, but fell 1 percent in the previous session as dollar
    * U.S. gold futures were down 0.7 percent at
$1,203.50 per ounce.
    * With the U.S. economy close to full employment and
inflation headed toward the Federal Reserve's 2 percent goal, it
"makes sense" for the U.S. central bank to gradually lift
interest rates, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday.
    * The U.S. central bank should be able to raise rates "in a
gradual and patient manner," Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan
said on Wednesday. 
    * U.S. consumer prices increased in December as households
paid more for gasoline and rental accommodation, leading to the
largest year-on-year increase in 2-1/2 years and signaling that
inflation pressures could be building. 
    * With euro zone growth and inflation slowly picking up
pace, the European Central Bank is set to argue on Thursday that
its extra-easy policy stance is still needed to keep the
recovery on course. 
    * China's economy likely grew by a steady 6.7 percent in the
fourth quarter, the same pace as in the previous three quarters,
supported by higher government spending and record bank lending
that has stoked concerns about debt risks, according to a
Reuters poll of 62 economists. 
    * Japan's government could debate after April revising its
target of eliminating the primary budget deficit by 2021, two
government sources said, as infrastructure spending and a delay
in the sales tax hike make wiping out the deficit unlikely.
    * The Philippines has cancelled the environmental permits of
six more companies, including four miners, Environment and
Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez said on Wednesday.
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
     0900  Euro zone   Current account                      Nov 
     1245  European Central Bank policy meeting outcome 
     1330  ECB President Mario Draghi holds news conference 
     1330  U.S.  Housing starts                             Dec 
     1330  U.S.  Building permits                           Dec 
     1330  U.S.  Weekly jobless claims 
     1330  U.S.  Philly Fed business index                  Jan 

 (Reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by
Amrutha Gayathri)