PRECIOUS-Gold slips, holds near 3-wk low on easing Syrian tensions
SINGAPORE, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Thursday to hold near its weakest level in three weeks, as tensions eased over a possible military strike on Syria and amid expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to unwind its monetary stimulus. Gold prices are likely to contract further in 2014, after tumbling for the first time in more than a decade this year, due to confidence in a stabilising global economy, metals consultancy Thomson Reuters GFMS said.
* Gold eased $1.73 an ounce to $1,364.41 by 0011 GMT, having fallen to $1,356.85 on Wednesday, its weakest since August 22.
* U.S. gold was steady at $1,364.60 an ounce.
* Diplomatic efforts toward placing Syria's chemical weapons under international control intensified on Wednesday and U.N. investigators concluded Syrian government forces were almost certainly responsible for two May massacres that killed up to 450 civilians in the bloody civil war.
* Gold demand in India, the world's top consumer of the precious metal, improved on Wednesday as prices fell to their lowest in three weeks following losses in the world market and on a strong rupee.
* South Africa's Chamber of Mines said on Wednesday that wage settlements in the gold sector would amount to 1.5 billion rand ($150 million) in extra costs for companies over the next 12 months.
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* The dollar struggled at two-week lows against a basket of major currencies early in Asia on Thursday, as markets continued to chip away at its recent gains on growing doubts the Federal Reserve will scale back stimulus in any significant way next week.
* Fixed-income investors gobbled up $49 billion in notes sold by Verizon on Wednesday, the largest-ever corporate bond sale in history, while global stocks rose as tensions over a possible military strike on Syria eased, and the dollar fell to a two-week low.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0800 Italy Industrial output 0900 Euro zone Industrial production 1200 India Industrial output 1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims 1230 U.S. Import prices
Precious metals prices 0011 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1364.41 -1.73 -0.13 -18.52 Spot Silver 23.12 -0.04 -0.17 -23.65 Spot Platinum 1468.00 2.40 +0.16 -4.36 Spot Palladium 689.47 -1.03 -0.15 -0.37 COMEX GOLD DEC3 1364.60 0.80 +0.06 -18.57 1724 COMEX SILVER DEC3 23.18 0.01 +0.03 -23.51 281 Euro/Dollar 1.3313 Dollar/Yen 99.85
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by Lewa Pardomuan; Editing by Richard Pullin)