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. FUNDAMENTALS * 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 strengthened. * 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 or DATA AHEAD (GMT) 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)
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