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PRECIOUS-Gold firms for 3rd day ahead of Fed tapering decision

Monday, 16 Dec 2013 | 7:43 PM ET

SINGAPORE, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Gold inched up for a third session on Tuesday supported by a short-covering rally, even as investors remined on edge ahead of a policy decision from the Federal Reserve on its bullion-friendly stimulus measures.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,241.60 an ounce by 0021 GMT.

* Gold has lost over a quarter of its value this year after a 12-year bull market on fears that the Fed will scale back its $85 billion monthly bond purchases on the back of a strong economy.

* Most economists believe the Fed will not begin tapering till March of next year, which could be prompting bullion investors to cover their positions ahead of the two-day meeting that begins on Tuesday.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 8.70 tonnes to 818.90 tonnes on Monday - its biggest outflow since Oct 21.

* Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd said parent Rio Tinto had secured extended commitments from the banks that have agreed to finance the underground expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia.

* Separately, commodity trader Trafigura said it has agreed to provide financing for the Oyu Tolgoi mine in exchange for a long-term deal to buy an undisclosed portion of the output.

* Canada's Centerra Gold said it would consider taking Kyrgyzstan to arbitration if the company cannot reach an agreement with the government, a potential escalation of a bitter row over the country's largest gold mine.

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MARKET NEWS

* Asian shares got off to a promising start on Tuesday on the back of rising U.S. manufacturing output and a jump in euro zone business activity.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 1000 Germany ZEW economic sentiment 1245 U.S. ICSC weekly chain store sales 1330 U.S. CPI 1330 U.S. Current account 1500 U.S. NAHB housing market index N/A Federal Reserve begins two-day meeting no monetary policy

PRICES AT 0021 GMT

Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Spot gold 1241.6 3.8 0.31 -25.85 Spot silver 19.97 0.04 0.2 -34.05 Spot platinum 1359.74 1.99 0.15 -11.42 Spot palladium 714.75 1 0.14 3.29 Comex gold Dec3 1241.7 -2.7 -0.22 -25.9 Comex silver Dec3 20 -0.10 -0.5 -34.02 Euro 1.376 DXY 80.103

COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Ed Davies)