Oct 9 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose early on Monday, pulling further away from a two-month low, as fresh concerns over North Korea's nuclear ambitions stoked safe-haven demand for the precious metal and weighed on the dollar. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was up 0.3 percent to $1,278.81 an ounce at 0105 GMT. It slipped to its lowest since early August on Friday. * U.S. gold futures for December delivery gained 0.5 percent to $1,281.50 per ounce. * The dollar held steady against the yen on Monday, having retreated from 12-week highs set last week, due to a renewed focus on geopolitical risks amid concerns that North Korea may be preparing another missile test. * Asian share markets inched higher on Monday as the flow of economic news remained generally supportive for global growth, while political uncertainty caused some early ructions in currencies. * North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un said his nuclear weapons were a "powerful deterrent" that guaranteed its sovereignty, state media reported on Sunday, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump said "only one thing will work" in dealing with the isolated country. * Pyongyang is preparing to test a long-range missile which it believes can reach the west coast of the United States, a Russian lawmaker just returned from a visit to North Korea was quoted as saying on Friday. * U.S. employment fell in September for the first time in seven years as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma left displaced workers temporarily unemployed and delayed hiring, the latest indication that the storms undercut economic activity in the third quarter. * Chalking up employment losses last month to the temporary hit of a severe hurricane season and reiterating expectations that inflation will strengthen, Federal Reserve policymakers on Friday signalled they continue to see gradual U.S. interest-rate hikes ahead. * The Federal Reserve must respond to "very tight" U.S. labour markets by gradually raising interest rates or risk halting the economic recovery, a hawkish Fed official said on Saturday. * Hedge funds and money managers reduced their net long positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts for the third straight week, in the week to Oct. 3, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday. DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT) 0145 China Caixin services PMI Sep 0600 Germany Industrial output Aug 0830 Euro zone Sentix index Oct 1400 U.S. Employment trends Sep (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)
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