PRECIOUS-Gold steady after sharp losses, U.S. stimulus in focus
SINGAPORE, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Gold was steady on Monday after sliding sharply in the previous session on fresh fears the United States could taper its massive economic stimulus sooner rather than later.
* Spot gold had risen 0.09 percent to $1,326.19 an ounce by 0021 GMT, after a near 3-percent drop on Friday. The fall all but erased the 4.5-percent climb posted last Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would continue its bond-buying programme for now.
* But St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Friday that the central bank could still scale back its stimulus at an October meeting should data point to a stronger economy.
* Hedge funds and money managers slashed bullish bets in futures and options of U.S. gold and silver markets, a weekly report by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday.
* SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.20 percent, or 1.81 tonnes, to 910.19 tonnes on Friday.
* U.S. asset manager PIMCO expects the Fed's bond-buying to put a floor under gold prices for the rest of the year.
* India will start buying gold again after a two-month gap as the government and banks have agreed how new rules on imports should work, easing prices in the world's biggest bullion buyer and helping supplies just as seasonal demand kicks in.
* The Chinese markets, a key support for gold, open on Monday after the mid-autumn festival.
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* Stocks on major markets gave back some gains on Friday after Bullard's comments, while the dollar held off a seven-month low in Asia on Monday.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0145 China HSBC manufacturing flash PMI 0658 France Markit manufacturing flash PMI 0728 Germany Markit manufacturing flash PMI 0758 Euro zone Markit manufacturing flash PMI 1230 U.S. Chicago national activity index 1258 U.S. Markit manufacturing flash PMI 1300 European Central Bank president to testify at European Parliament economic committee
Precious metals prices 0021 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1326.19 1.20 +0.09 -20.80 Spot Silver 21.82 0.03 +0.14 -27.94 Spot Platinum 1426.49 -0.91 -0.06 -7.07 Spot Palladium 715.96 1.76 +0.25 3.46 COMEX GOLD DEC3 1327.00 -5.50 -0.41 -20.81 7102 COMEX SILVER DEC3 21.86 -0.07 -0.31 -27.87 1660 Euro/Dollar 1.3533 Dollar/Yen 99.24
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Joseph Radford)