PRECIOUS-Gold eases but on track for best week in a month
SINGAPORE, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Gold eased on Friday after gaining more than 2 percent in the previous session as strong U.S. data indicated the Federal Reserve could soon start tapering its massive stimulus. The metal, however, was holding near two-month highs and was headed for its best weekly gain in over a month on technical buying and inflows into the world's biggest gold exchange-traded fund.
* Spot gold fell 0.08 percent to $1,364.41 an ounce by 0012 GMT. It has gained nearly 4 percent this week.
* It rose to a near two-month high on Thursday, gaining 2.3 percent as a drop in the U.S. dollar triggered short-covering and a technical breakout once prices breached key resistance at $1,350 an ounce.
* Silver eased after jumping 5 percent to a near three-month high. Platinum and palladium added to gains and were trading close to two-month highs.
* The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to a near six-year low last week and consumer prices rose broadly in July, which could draw the Federal Reserve closer to trimming its massive bond-buying program.
* SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.03 percent to 912.92 tonnes on Thursday. It had, however, seen gains on Wednesday, only the second increase in two months.
* Commodities and precious metals funds, which mainly invest in gold futures, received $130.7 million over the week, marking the first injections of cash into the funds since last March.
* South African gold producer Sibanye Gold said on Thursday it could cut up to 1,600 jobs after a review of its business, a move that could provoke a backlash from the government and labour unions as tough wage talks take place.
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* The dollar was nursing heavy losses in Asia on Friday after wild swings overnight left dealers struggling to find a pattern amid all the noise, setting the scene for a defensive session into the weekend.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0800 - Euro Zone Current Account For June 0800 - Euro Zone Net Investment Flow In June 0900 - Euro Zone Final Inflation For July 0900 - Eurostat Trade For June 1230 - U.S. Housing Starts/Building Permits For July 1355 - Thomson Reuters/Univ Of Mich Preliminary August Consumer Sentiment 1430 - U.S. ECRI Weekly
Precious metals prices 0012 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1364.41 -1.14 -0.08 -18.52 Spot Silver 22.94 -0.02 -0.09 -24.24 Spot Platinum 1525.49 3.79 +0.25 -0.62 Spot Palladium 759.97 0.97 +0.13 9.82 COMEX GOLD DEC3 1363.90 3.00 +0.22 -18.61 2821 COMEX SILVER SEP3 22.94 0.00 +0.00 -24.32 884 Euro/Dollar 1.3349 Dollar/Yen 97.16
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin)