PRECIOUS-Gold holds gains on concerns over U.S. debt ceiling
SINGAPORE, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Gold held steady early on Thursday, maintaining gains made in the previous session as uncertainty over the U.S. debt ceiling prompted safe-haven buying of the metal.
* Spot gold was nearly flat, easing 0.06 percent to $1,332.14 an ounce by 0017 GMT, after gaining 0.8 percent in the previous session.
* U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew pleaded for quick action in the deeply divided Congress on raising the $16.7 trillion statutory limit on government borrowing, as he projected an Oct. 17 date when borrowing capacity would be nearly exhausted and only $30 billion would be left in his agency's checking account.
* Republican leaders in the House of Representatives notified members that a vote on raising the debt limit could come as early as Friday. Lawmakers also grappled with another potential crisis: federal agency shutdowns that could begin with the new fiscal year on Oct. 1 unless Congress comes up with emergency funds.
* Gold - seen as a safe haven and alternative investment - rose to a record $1,920 an ounce in September 2011, partly on fears over the first U.S. debt ceiling crisis.
* U.S. regulators on Wednesday closed a five-year investigation into alleged manipulation of the silver market, saying 7,000 staff hours of investigation produced no evidence of wrongdoing.
* Chile's Supreme Court on Wednesday confirmed a freeze on Barrick Gold Corp's suspended Pascua-Lama gold mine but the Toronto-based miner escaped having the project's environmental permit revoked.
* Indian customs cleared some of the imported gold that was lying at airports and meant for exports after processing, trade body officials said on Wednesday, a move that could restart shipments after a gap of more than two months.
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* The dollar fell and global equities markets continued to struggle on Wednesday on fears over the U.S. debt ceiling.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0645 France Consumer confidence 0800 Euro zone M3 money supply 1230 U.S. Final Q2 GDP 1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims 1400 U.S. Pending home sales
Precious metals prices 0017 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1332.14 -0.85 -0.06 -20.45 Spot Silver 21.77 0.02 +0.09 -28.10 Spot Platinum 1422.50 -3.70 -0.26 -7.33 Spot Palladium 720.51 0.01 +0.00 4.12 COMEX GOLD DEC3 1332.90 -3.30 -0.25 -20.46 2424 COMEX SILVER DEC3 21.82 -0.07 -0.30 -28.00 593 Euro/Dollar 1.3519 Dollar/Yen 98.45
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Chris Gallagher)