PRECIOUS-Gold firm as market awaits Fed policy cues

    May 24 (Reuters) - Gold held steady early on Wednesday,
after falling 0.7 percent in the previous session, as investors
waited for cues on the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate hike stance
from minutes of the central bank's latest meeting, due later in
the day.     
    * Spot gold        was up 0.1 percent at $1,252.32 per ounce
by 0057 GMT. 
    * U.S. gold futures         shed 0.3 percent at $1,252.1 an
    * The dollar held firm early on Wednesday, having rebounded
from 6-1/2-month lows against its major peers.       
    * A U.S. interest rate hike next month is a "distinct
possibility," the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of
Philadelphia, Patrick Harker, said on Tuesday, adding that
another disappointing reading on monthly inflation could cause
the U.S. central bank to hold back.                 
    * Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari
said Tuesday that while the U.S. economy is closer now than it
was in March to full employment, he still does not know "if we
are there yet," and that the recent decline in core inflation is
    * U.S. President Donald Trump asked lawmakers on Tuesday to
cut $3.6 trillion in government spending over the next decade,
taking aim at healthcare and food assistance programs for the
poor in an austere budget that also boosts the military.
    * Former CIA director John Brennan said on Tuesday he had
noticed contacts between associates of Trump's presidential
campaign and Russia during the 2016 election and grew concerned
Moscow had sought to lure Americans down "a treasonous path".
    * New U.S. single-family home sales tumbled from near a
9-1/2-year high in April, but the housing recovery likely
remains intact amid a tightening labor market.             
    * Soldiers will be deployed to key sites in Britain to boost
security as the country raised its terror threat to the highest
level of "critical" following a suicide attack in Manchester
that killed 22 people, including children.             
    * Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.59 percent to 847.45
tonnes on Tuesday.          
    * India's gold imports could plunge in 2017 during the
traditional period of peak demand in the second half of the
year, after jewellers have aggressively restocked inventory
ahead of a national sales tax that takes effect on July
    0600  Germany GfK consumer sentiment  Jun 
    1300  U.S. Monthly home price index   Mar 
    1345  European Central Bank President Mario Draghi speaks at
          First Conference on Financial Stability 
    1400  U.S. Existing home sales  Apr 
    1800  Federal Reserve to release minutes of May 2-3 meeting 

 (Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali