PRECIOUS-Gold prices hold firm as dollar sags

    Oct 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices on Friday held onto most of
their gains from the previous session as the dollar sagged after
a report that U.S. President Donald Trump was leaning toward a
less hawkish candidate as the next chair of the Federal Reserve.
    * Spot gold        was steady at $1,289.52 an ounce at 0042
GMT. It gained 0.7 percent in the previous session.
    * U.S. gold futures         for December delivery edged up
0.1 percent to $1,291.30 per ounce.
    * The dollar index       , which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, was down 0.1 percent at 93.193.
    * Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell is the leading
candidate to become the chair of the U.S. central bank after
President Donald Trump concluded a series of meetings with five
finalists on Thursday, Politico reported, citing three
administration officials.             
    * U.S. President Donald Trump has concluded interviews with
the five candidates he is considering to chair the Federal
Reserve and could announce a decision as early as next week, a
source familiar with the process said on Thursday.             
    * Powell is considered less hawkish than other choices on
Trump's short list like former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh and
economist John Taylor. Powell would be expected to favour lower
interest rates for the United States, reducing the value of the
dollar to investors.        
    * The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits
dropped to its lowest in more than 44-1/2 years last week,
pointing to a rebound in job growth after a hurricane-related
decline in employment in September.             
    * The European Central Bank will say on Oct. 26 it will
start trimming its monthly asset purchases to 40 billion euros
from 60 billion euros in January, according to a Reuters poll of
    * British retail sales slowed unexpectedly sharply in
September, dragging quarterly growth to its weakest annual rate
since 2013 and suggesting consumer demand remains uncertain as
the Bank of England nears its first rate rise in a decade.
    * Spain's central government said on Thursday it would
suspend Catalonia's autonomy and impose direct rule after the
region's leader threatened to go ahead with a formal declaration
of independence if Madrid refused to hold talks.             
    * Demand for gold jumped in India this week on account of
Dhanteras and Diwali, but high prices took some sheen off the
yellow metal's lure during the key festival period this year.
    0600  Germany          Producer prices                Sep
    0800  Euro zone        Current account                Aug
    1400  U.S.             Existing home sales            Sep
    2330  Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks on "Monetary
          Policy Since the Financial Crisis" at Washington event

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu