PRECIOUS-Gold prices edge up on tepid dollar ahead of Fed meeting

March 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose for a third consecutive session on Tuesday as the dollar weakened on expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will maintain a dovish tone at its monetary policy meeting this week.


* Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,304.91 per ounce as of 0058 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures rose about 0.3 percent to $1,304.70 an ounce.

* Spot palladium dipped 0.1 percent to $1,582 an ounce, after registering its highest on record at $1,585.59 in the previous session on sustained supply tightness.

* The dollar, which eased marginally against major currencies, traded close to a two-week low posted in the previous session.

* Traders currently expect there will be no U.S. rate hikes this year, and are even building in bets for a rate cut in 2020. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will speak at a news conference on Wednesday

* Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans were thrown into further turmoil on Monday when the speaker of parliament ruled that she could not put her divorce deal to a new vote unless it was re-submitted in a fundamentally different form.

* European Union leaders could hold off making a final decision on any Brexit delay when they meet in Brussels later this week, senior diplomats in the bloc said, depending on what exactly British Prime Minister Theresa May asks them for.

* Japan’s exports fell for a third month in February in a sign of growing strain on the trade-reliant economy, suggesting the central bank might be forced to offer more stimulus eventually to temper the effects of slowing external demand and trade frictions.

* Japan’s government is expected to keep its view of the economy as “recovering at a moderate pace” in its monthly report for March, the Nikkei business daily reported on Tuesday.

* Tanzania has ordered all mineral-producing regions in the East African nation to set up government-controlled trading centres by the end of June, accelerating efforts to curb illegal exports of gold and other precious minerals.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose about 1.1 percent on Monday, its biggest one-day percentage gain since Jan. 18.

DATA AHEAD (GMT) 0930 UK ILO unemployment rate (Jan) 1000 Germany ZEW Economic sentiment (March) 1000 Germany ZEW Current economic conditions (March) 1400 U.S. Factory orders (Jan) 2350 Bank of Japan releases minutes of monetary policy meeting held on Jan. 22-23 U.S. Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) starts its two-day meeting on interest rates (March 19-20)

Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin