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PRECIOUS-Gold inches down as market braces for key events

BENGALURU, June 8 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower early Thursday after a written testimony by former FBI director James Comey ahead of his Congressional appearance was seen containing few fireworks, as investors also braced up for the UK national elections and a policy meeting of the European Central Bank later in the day.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was down 0.1 percent, to $1,285.20 per ounce at 0105 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures for August delivery dipped 0.4 percent to $1,288.1 an ounce.

* Comey said on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump asked him to drop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn as part of a probe into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

* British Prime Minister Theresa May faces the voters on Thursday in an election she called to strengthen her hand in looming Brexit talks, with her personal authority at stake after a campaign that saw her lead in opinion polls contract.

* The European Central Bank is likely to keep the money taps fully open at its meeting on Thursday as inflation remains below its target despite stronger economic growth in the euro zone.

* North Korea fired what appeared to be several land-to-ship missiles off its east coast on Thursday, South Korea's military said, the latest in a fast-paced series of missile tests defying world pressure to rein in its weapons program.

* U.S. applications to buy a home reached their highest level in about seven years last week as mortgage rates fell to their lowest levels since late 2016, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.

* Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has substantially expanded the range of dates that its London gold futures contract can be traded, as it seeks to beat rival exchanges to gain a foothold in the city's $5 trillion-a-year bullion market.

* Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 1.14 percent to 864.93 tonnes on Wednesday.

* China's gold reserves were unchanged at 59.24 million ounces in May, the country's central bank said on Wednesday.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

* China Trade data May

0600 Germany Industrial output Apr 0645 France current account Apr 0645 France Trade data Apr 0900 Euro zone revised GDP Q1 1145 European Central Bank announces outcome of policy

meeting; followed by ECB President Draghi briefing

1230 U.S. weekly jobless claims

(Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru)