PRECIOUS-Gold ticks up on steady dollar after Fed chief remarks
* Dollar index steadies after Bernanke testimony
* SPDR Gold Trust holdings fall by 1.5 tonnes on Wednesday
* Coming up: U.S. Weekly jobless claims at 1230 GMT
(Updates throughout, changes dateline from SINGAPORE)
LONDON, July 18 (Reuters) - Gold edged up on Thursday, partially recovering from a more than 1 percent loss in the previous session, as the dollar steadied in view of a possible slower pullback in the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus programme.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday the U.S. central bank still expects to start scaling back bond purchases later in the year, but left open the option of changing that plan if needed.
"The market is today stabilising as there is no more expectations for an imminent QE3 end," Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.
"Yesterday, gold was unable to convincingly break above $1,300 and some took this as a sign of weakness," he added. "We don't expect any strong increase in the short time."
The metal briefly rallied above crucial resistance at $1,300 an ounce after Bernanke's remarks on Wednesday, but gave up the gains as the dollar remained strong.
Gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,278.56 by 0915 GMT. It climbed to a three-week high of $1,300.16 in the previous session.
U.S. gold futures for August delivery were up $1.70 at $1,279.20 an ounce.
The dollar inched 0.1 percent up ahead of U.S. weekly jobless claims data later in the day, which investors await to see if they support a Fed's tapering soon.
Bullion has slipped more than 20 percent this year, losing its safe-haven appeal after the U.S. central bank signalled it would look to rein in its $85 billion in monthly asset purchases later this year and halt stimulus altogether by mid-2014.
The Fed's three quantitative easing schemes have buoyed prices of gold and other commodities, as they kept interest rates low, which weighed on the dollar, making assets priced in the greenback cheaper for foreign investors.
Bernanke will testify before the Senate Banking Committee later in the day, but he is now widely expected to stick to the theme laid out on Wednesday.
SPDR HOLDINGS FALL
As a gauge of investor sentiment, holdings of the world's largest gold-backed ETF SPDR Gold Trust fell 1.5 tonnes to 937.57 tonnes on Wednesday. The fund has seen outflows of around 370 tonnes, or about $17 billion at current prices, so far this year.
Gold's recent weakness has attracted buying in the physical sector, keeping premiums for gold bars steady in Singapore at $2.50 to $3 an ounce to spot London prices..
But demand from top consumer India has been muted after the government raised its import duty and stopped consignment imports, cutting imports by 81 percent in June.
"There's some buying, although I wouldn't say the quantity is big. Gold hasn't really fallen a lot anyway," said a physical dealer in Singapore.
"Hong Kong is still doing well, with premiums at $3.50 to $5 because of demand from China."
Silver rose 0.8 percent to $19.40 an ounce. Palladium fell 0.4 percent to $729.97 an ounce. Platinum gained 0.2 percent to $1,411 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by Lewa Pardomuan in Singapore; editing by James Jukwey)