PRECIOUS-Gold slips as investors await outlook for bond purchases
SINGAPORE, June 17 (Reuters) - Gold fell in early Asian trading on Monday as investors await indications from a key U.S. Federal Reserve meeting this week on the pace of the central bank's bond buying programme.
* Spot gold eased 0.2 percent to $1,387.24 an ounce by 0022 GMT. Bullion closed up about 0.5 percent for the week on Friday helped by strong demand for coins and bars, a pullback in U.S. stocks and rising tensions in the Middle East.
* U.S. gold fell slightly to $1,386.9.
* Markets have been on the edge since May 22 when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the bank could scale back its stimulus programme if the economy improves.
* A reduction in the $85 billion monthly bond purchases could hurt gold, typically seen as a hedge against inflation. The Fed meets on June 18-19.
* Hedge funds and money managers slashed their bullish bets in gold and silver futures and options in the week to June 11, a report by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday.
* Gold output in Australia, the No. 2 producer behind China, fell 5 percent in the first quarter on weather-related disruption to 63.5 tonnes, according to the latest Gold Quarterly Review by Surbiton Associates.
* HSBC lowered its platinum price forecasts for this year and next, even though supplies are tight, because the metal has been influenced by the sharp sell-off in gold.
* Anglo American Platinum said on Saturday operations at its Thembelani mine in South Africa were back to normal after a "group of employees" on Friday prevented 2,400 workers from going above ground.
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* The yen held near a two-month high against the dollar and euro in early Asian trade on Monday, getting the week off to a subdued start as investors await more clarity on the Fed's next step.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0530 India Repo rate 0900 Eurostat trade nsa 1400 U.S. NAHB housing market indx
Precious metals prices 0022 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1387.24 -2.96 -0.21 -17.16 Spot Silver 21.97 -0.07 -0.32 -27.44 Spot Platinum 1441.50 -3.50 -0.24 -6.09 Spot Palladium 726.47 -3.03 -0.42 4.98 COMEX GOLD AUG3 1386.90 -0.70 -0.05 -17.24 1724
COMEX SILVER JUL3 --
Euro/Dollar 1.3342 Dollar/Yen 94.49
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin)