June 16, 2017 / 1:24 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold holds near 3-week lows, heads for second straight weekly fall

    BENGALURU, June 16 (Reuters) - Gold on Friday held steady
near a three-week low hit in the previous session on a firmer
dollar and strong U.S. economic data, and was headed for a
second straight weekly fall.   
    * Spot gold        was nearly flat at $1,254 per ounce by
0106 GMT. It hit its weakest since May 24 at $1,251.18 on
Thursday. The metal has fallen nearly 1 percent so far this
    * U.S. gold futures         for August delivery rose 0.1
percent, to $1,256 per ounce.
    * Asian stocks were steady, while the dollar held near a
two-week high after solid economic data backed the case for
tighter U.S. monetary policy.            
    * The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits
fell more than expected last week, pointing to shrinking labor
market slack that could allow the Federal Reserve to raise
interest rates again this year despite moderate inflation
    * Years of tepid economic recovery have Fed Chair Janet
Yellen and other central bankers considering what was once
unthinkable: abandoning decades-long efforts to hold inflation
down and allowing price expectations to creep up.             
    * Euro zone governments threw Greece another 11th-hour
credit lifeline on Thursday worth $9.5 billion and sketched new
detail on possible debt relief as the IMF finally offered to
help out after two years of hesitation.             
    * The Bank of England shocked financial markets on Thursday
when it said three of its policymakers voted for an interest
rate hike, the closest it has come to raising rates since 2007,
despite signs of a slowdown in Britain's economy.             
    * British Prime Minister Theresa May's government said on
Thursday it would launch her policy programme next week, a sign
of confidence she will strike a deal to stay in power after days
of political uncertainty since losing her majority.             
    * India gold imports surged to nearly $5 billion from $3.85
billion a month ago. Year-on-year, the import of the precious
metal more than trebled, government data showed on Thursday.
    * Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund fell 0.14 percent to 853.68
tonnes on Thursday.         
    * Authorities in the Argentine province of San Juan lifted
restrictions on leaching operations at Barrick Gold Corp's
         Veladero mine on Thursday, but the world's biggest gold
producer said it would not immediately resume full operations.
     0900  Euro zone      Inflation final             May 
     0900  Euro zone      Labor costs                       Q1 
     1230  U.S.           Housing starts                    May 
     1230  U.S.           Building permits                  May 
     1400  U.S.           Univ of Michigan sentiment index  June

 (Reporting by Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu
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