PRECIOUS-Gold slips after sharp gains, Fed meeting eyed
SINGAPORE, July 29 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Monday after three weeks of gains as investors awaited a key Federal Reserve policy meeting this week for guidance on when the central bank would begin to scale back its stimulus.
* Spot gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,328.86 an ounce by 0015 GMT, after a 3 percent gain last week. U.S. gold gained almost $8 to $1,329.00.
* Bullion has lost a fifth of its value this year as signs of an economic recovery in the United States and signals from the Fed suggested the bank may scale back its $85 billion monthly bond purchases. But recent comments from the Fed have reassured investors, pushing gold up for three straight weeks.
* The Fed's two-day policy meeting kicks off on Tuesday. The Bank of England and European Central Bank also hold policy meetings this week.
* Although spot gold gained 3 percent last week, its sharp tumble on Wednesday sent a bearish signal to many technical analysts, suggesting that the precious metal may slide further toward three-year lows.
* Hedge funds and money managers raised their bullish bets in gold futures and options to a four-month high last week, boosted by speculation the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low for longer, a report by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday.
* Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan are among eight countries that increased their gold holdings in June, data from the International Monetary Fund shows, reflecting strong interest on the part of emerging economies to own gold as part of their reserves.
* Stewart Murray, chief executive of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), said on Friday he would retire in the fourth quarter after 14 years in the post.
* JPMorgan Chase & Co is exiting physical commodities trading, the bank said in a surprise statement on Friday, as Wall Street's role in the trading of raw materials comes under unprecedented political and regulatory pressure.
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* The dollar was on the defensive in Asia on Monday as investors braced for an event-packed week that includes central bank meetings in the United States and Europe, manufacturing data from China and U.S. growth and jobs figures.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0800 Italy Business confidence 1230 U.S. Chicago Fed Midwest manufacturing 1400 U.S. Pending home sales 1430 U.S. Dallas Fed manufacturing index
Precious metals prices 0015 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1328.86 -4.43 -0.33 -20.64 Spot Silver 19.90 -0.05 -0.25 -34.28 Spot Platinum 1423.99 -1.01 -0.07 -7.23 Spot Palladium 721.47 -1.53 -0.21 4.26 COMEX GOLD AUG3 1329.00 7.50 +0.57 -20.69 2266 COMEX SILVER SEP3 19.89 0.11 +0.58 -34.39 543 Euro/Dollar 1.3282 Dollar/Yen 98.08
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)