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PRECIOUS-Gold steady as dollar slips on Fed minutes

May 25 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Thursday to keep most of its gains from the previous session, with the dollar slipping after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's last policy meeting dampened hopes for an aggressive string of interest rate hikes.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,256.61 per ounce by 0053 GMT. It rose about 0.6 percent on Wednesday.

* U.S. gold futures were up 0.3 percent at $1,256.8 an ounce.

* Fed policymakers agreed they should hold off on raising interest rates until it was clear a recent U.S. economic slowdown was temporary, though most said a hike was coming soon, minutes from their last policy meeting showed on Wednesday.

* The dollar was on the defensive early on Thursday, while the euro edged back up towards a 6-1/2-month high.

* Asian shares eked out modest gains on Thursday.

* U.S. home resales fell from a more than 10-year high in April, weighed down by a chronic shortage of houses on the market that is keeping prices elevated and sidelining prospective buyers.

* London's gold benchmark experienced large, unpredictable fluctuations after some banks left the auction that sets the price relied upon by the $5 trillion-a-year bullion market, according to a Reuters analysis of trading data.

* Euro zone economic growth may be improving - and European Central Bank policy will reflect this - but inflation remains weak so there is no need to deviate from the policy path already laid out, top ECB policymakers said on Wednesday.

* Platinum producer Lonmin re-opened two of

its shafts in South Africa on May 20 after community protests stopped, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

* Russia raised gold holdings its by 7.2 tonnes to 1,687.3 tonnes in April, while Kazakhstan ramped up its holdings by 3.2 tonnes to 270.918 tonnes during the same period, according to IMF data.

DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)

0830 Britain GDP 2nd release Q1 1230 U.S. Trade balance Apr 1230 U.S. Wholesale inventory Apr

1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims

(Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)