PRECIOUS-Gold eases on U.S. data, ETF outflows
SINGAPORE, July 2 (Reuters) - Gold was a fraction lower on Tuesday after mixed U.S. economic data added to uncertainty over whether the Federal Reserve will begin to scale back its stimulus measures this year. The precious metal had risen in the previous session on short covering following recent losses, but investors continue to shun gold's safe-haven appeal with outflows from gold backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) hitting a new four-year low.
* Spot gold slipped 0.02 percent to $1,252.59 an ounce by 0019 GMT, while U.S. gold fell $3 to $1,252.80.
* Gold started the third quarter on a strong footing on Monday jumping over 2 percent as technical buying and speculative short covering offset concerns that the Fed will rein in its $85 billion monthly bond purchases.
* Bullion, typically seen as a hedge against inflation, has taken a beating since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last month the economy was recovering strongly enough for the central bank to begin tapering its stimulus in the next few months.
* U.S. manufacturing expanded last month, rebounding from an unexpected contraction in May, and construction spending neared a four-year high in May, data showed on Monday. However, hiring in the manufacturing sector was the weakest in nearly four years.
* A more important jobs report, the U.S. nonfarm payrolls, is expected to be released on Friday.
* Gold recorded its biggest quarterly loss ever in April to June, and is down more than 25 percent this year.
* SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold ETF, said its holdings fell 0.12 percent to 968.30 tonnes on Monday - its lowest since February 2009.
* Barclays lowered its gold price forecast for 2013 citing a weak second quarter, a recent sell-off and lack of investment buying.
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* The U.S. dollar edged lower while Japanese and Australian stocks opened higher.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0430 Australia RBA cash rate 0900 Euro zone Producer prices 1145 U.S. ICSC weekly chain store sales 1345 U.S. ISM-New York index 1400 U.S. Factory orders 1400 U.S. IBD/TIPP consumer confidence
Precious metals prices 0019 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1252.59 -0.21 -0.02 -25.20 Spot Silver 19.64 0.08 +0.41 -35.14 Spot Platinum 1368.49 -6.01 -0.44 -10.85 Spot Palladium 681.72 -2.78 -0.41 -1.49 COMEX GOLD AUG3 1252.80 -2.90 -0.23 -25.24 1460 COMEX SILVER SEP3 0.20 0.00 +0.21 -99.35 362 Euro/Dollar 1.3063 Dollar/Yen 99.51
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Ed Davies)