Oct 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased a touch on Monday, weighed down by a firm dollar and stronger Asian equities. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,303.42 an ounce at 0053 GMT. It gained nearly 0.9 percent in the previous session on weaker-than-expected U.S. inflation data. * U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up 0.1 percent at $1,305.70 per ounce. * The dollar index , which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was steady at 93.101. * Asian shares advanced to new highs on Monday following the lead of Wall Street, while U.S. oil futures jumped to hover near a six-month peak as escalating tensions between Iraq and Kurds threatened supply. * U.S. consumer prices recorded their biggest increase in eight months in September as gasoline prices soared in the wake of hurricane-related production disruptions at oil refineries in the Gulf Coast area, but underlying inflation remained muted. * The U.S economy remains strong and the strength of the labour market calls for continued gradual increases in interest rates despite subdued inflation, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Sunday. * Senior Trump administration officials said on Sunday that the United States was committed to remaining part of the Iran nuclear accord for now, despite President Donald Trump's criticisms of the deal and his warnings that he might pull out. * Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has until 10:00 a.m. local (0800 GMT) on Monday to clarify whether he is calling for the region's independence from Spain, with Madrid threatening a return to direct rule if his stance remains ambiguous. * Britain's economy shows little sign of improving on lacklustre growth and it seems "extraordinary" that the Bank of England is considering raising interest rates, the British Chambers of Commerce said on Friday. * Wages and inflation in the 19-country euro zone will eventually rise but more slowly than earlier thought, requiring continued patience from policymakers, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Saturday. * Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda warned on Sunday that investors may be complacent about geopolitical risks that could trigger financial market turbulence and disrupt an otherwise broadening global economic recovery. * Hedge funds and money managers reduced their net long position in COMEX gold contracts for the fourth straight week, in the week to Oct. 10, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday. DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT) 0130 China Consumer prices Sep 0130 China Producer prices Sep 0900 Euro zone Eurostat trade Aug 1230 U.S. New York Fed manufacturing Oct (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)
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