PRECIOUS-Gold inches lower after 3-week gain, Fed meeting eyed
* Gold down after 9 pct gain over three weeks
* Traders on sidelines ahead of Fed meeting
* China gold ETFs fall on first day of trade
(Updates throughout, changes dateline)
LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Monday after three weeks of gains as investors awaited the results of a Federal Reserve policy meeting this week for guidance on when the U.S. central bank would begin to scale back its stimulus.
Spot gold was down 0.1 percent to $1,332.20 an ounce by 0943 GMT, after regaining the $1,300 level for the first time in one month last week. Prices posted a combined 9 percent over the last three weeks.
U.S. gold futures for August rose $10.30 to $1,331.70 an ounce.
"This week offers several opportunities to test whether the rally can be sustained with the central banks' meetings and the U.S. non-farm payrolls on Friday," Saxo Bank senior manager Ole Hansen said.
"Overall, it's difficult to become too carried away at the moment and we should monitor the movements in the exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and the gold/silver ratio," he added.
The Fed's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday.
Bullion has lost a fifth of its value this year as signs of an economic recovery in the United States sparked speculation of an end to easy central bank money. But comments from Chairman Ben Bernanke this month have reassured investors that the central bank will keep interest rates low for some time, pushing gold up for three straight weeks.
Investors, however, want more guidance on the exact timing of any scaleback, which remains still unclear, and are keenly watching every piece of economic data to help gauge where the Fed is heading.
"Prices are unlikely to maintain their upward momentum in the seasonally weak period for demand unless U.S. macro data deteriorate, driving further short covering-led support," Barclays said in a note.
The dollar was flat above an earlier five-week trough, while benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields steadied just below 2.6 percent and European equities rebounded after a two-session dip.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England also meet this week and are expected to repeat or refine their "forward guidance" that borrowing costs will remain extraordinarily low as long as growth is sub-par and inflation is not a threat.
CHINA GOLD ETFs
The launch of China's first gold-backed exchange traded funds (ETFs) opened to lacklustre performance on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
The two funds HuaAn Gold ETF and Guotai Gold ETF raised a total of 1.6 billion yuan ($260.94 million) in their initial funding round, coming in well below expectations due to sliding gold prices and a recent credit-crunch scare.
The launch and trading of the ETFs are being closely watched to see if local investors' appetite for paper gold can match their hunger for physical bullion.
As a gauge of investor sentiment, CFTC data showed options and futures of COMEX gold rising by more than 14,500 contracts to reach a total of more than 70,000 in the week to July 23.
Silver fell 0.2 percent to $19.90 an ounce, having touched a one-month high of $20.60 last week. The gold/silver ratio rose to its highest since August 2010 at nearly 67.
Platinum rose 0.3 percent to $1,429.75 an ounce and palladium gained 0.1 percent to $723.47 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; editing by Keiron Henderson)