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PRECIOUS-Gold prices inch up ahead of minutes from latest Fed meeting

    BENGALURU, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices firmed early on
Wednesday as the dollar weakened slightly, with investors
waiting for the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal
Reserve's last meeting in July for clues on the pace of
potential interest rate hikes. 

    FUNDAMENTALS    
    * Spot gold        was up 0.1 percent at $1,272.47 per ounce
by 0048 GMT, after falling for two straight days.     
    * U.S. gold futures         for December delivery fell 0.13
percent to $1,278.00 per ounce.
    * The dollar edged lower in early Asian trading on
Wednesday, but held most of its gains made after U.S. retail
sales data suggested the economy continued to gain momentum in
the third quarter.       
    * North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has delayed a decision on
firing missiles towards Guam while he waits to see what the
United States does, the North's state media reported on Tuesday
as the United States said any dialogue was up to Kim.
            
    * It is perhaps fitting that the biggest annual gathering of
central banking's great and good takes place at a fishing
retreat: financial markets are angling for the slightest hint on
where monetary policy is headed.             
    * The U.S. economy is on track to expand at a 3.7 percent
annualized pace in the third quarter based on the release of the
government's July retail sales data, the Atlanta Federal
Reserve's GDP Now forecast model showed on Tuesday.             
    
    * U.S. retail sales recorded their biggest increase in seven
months in July as consumers boosted purchases of motor vehicles
and raised discretionary spending, suggesting the economy
continued to gain momentum early in the third quarter.
            
    * Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Tuesday he did
not share the view of Germany's constitutional court that the
European Central Bank may be violating laws on monetary
financing with its 2.3 trillion euro asset purchase programme.
            
        
    DATA AHEAD (GMT) 
    
    0800  Italy           Preliminary GDP             Q2 
    0900  Euro zone       GDP Flash Estimate          Q2 
    1230  U.S.            Housing starts              Jul 
    1230  U.S.            Building permits            Jul     
    1800  Minutes of Federal Reserve's July 25-26 meeting 

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford)
  
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