PRECIOUS-Gold prices edge up from 7-month low

    BENGALURU, July 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices nudged higher in
early trade on Monday amid a softer U.S. dollar and slightly
weaker Asian shares, after sliding to their lowest in seven
months in the previous session.
    * Spot gold        was up 0.1 percent at $1,242.01 an ounce
at 0103 GMT, after marking the lowest since Dec. 12 at $1,236.58
on Friday.
    * U.S. gold futures         for August delivery were 0.1
percent higher at $1,242.40 an ounce.
    * The dollar traded below a 10-day peak, hit in the previous
session, versus a basket of six major currencies early on Monday
    * Asian shares were lower on Monday, brushing off a firmer
Wall Street lead as investor caution dominated ahead of the
release of key Chinese economic data.            
    * China is expected to report a modest slowdown in
second-quarter economic growth, as the government's efforts to
tackle debt risks crimp activity and a trade war with the United
States threatens exports.             
    * On the eve of his meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin,
U.S. President Donald Trump rattled allies once more by
labelling the European Union a "foe" with regard to trade.
    * The European Union will open an annual meeting with China
on Monday, and will be looking to fend off overtures for an
anti-U.S. alliance as China seeks a European counterbalance to
U.S. tariffs.             
    * President Trump said on Friday the United States and
Britain could secure a "great" post-Brexit trade deal, lavishing
praise on Prime Minister Theresa May and contradicting his own
withering assessment of her strategy publicised hours earlier.
    * The Federal Reserve on Friday pointed to "solid" U.S.
economic growth during the first half of the year in its
semi-annual report to Congress, where it also reiterated that it
expected to continue to raise interest rates gradually.
    * The Bank of Japan this month might concede that inflation
could fall short of its 2 percent target for as long as three
more years, sources say, in what would be the strongest sign yet
of acceptance that its goal cannot be reached quickly.
    * Hedge funds and money managers cut their net long position
in COMEX gold contracts to a 2-1/2-year low in the week to July
10, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed
on Friday.             

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Richard