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PRECIOUS-Gold steady near 6-week highs after Fed statement

BENGALURU, July 27 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady near six-week highs early on Thursday, with the dollar hovering close to 13-month lows hit in the previous session after the U.S. Federal Reserve's statement following its two-day policy meeting.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was nearly unchanged at $1,261.31 per ounce at 0049 GMT. It marked its highest since June 15 in the previous session.

* U.S. gold futures for August delivery rose almost 1 percent to $1,261.40 per ounce.

* The Fed kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and said it expected to start winding down its massive holdings of bonds "relatively soon" in a sign of confidence in the U.S. economy.

* The dollar touched its lowest in more than a year and U.S. Treasury prices rose on Wednesday after the Fed's statement.

* Republican U.S. Senate leaders, struggling to keep a seven-year-old promise to end Obamacare, turned their focus on Wednesday to passing a slimmed-down "skinny" repeal measure that would throw the issue into negotiations with the House of Representatives.

* Russia warned it was edging closer to retaliation against Washington after the House of Representatives backed new U.S. sanctions on Moscow, while the European Union said the move might affect its energy security and it stood ready to act too.

* U.S. officials said on Tuesday they have seen increased North Korean activity that could be preparations for another missile test within days.

* New U.S. single-family home sales increased in June as purchases in the West surged to a near 10-year high, but downward revisions to the sales pace for the prior three months pointed to a housing market that is struggling to gain momentum.

* India eased the restrictions for its Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme after failing to secure the targeted investment, the government said on Wednesday.

* Holdings at the SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.63 percent to 795.42 tonnes on Wednesday from 800.45 tonnes on Tuesday.

DATA AHEAD

0600 Germany GfK consumer sentiment index Aug 0800 Euro Zone M3 money supply indicator June 1230 U.S. Chicago Fed national activity index June 1230 U.S. U.S. job claims weekly 1230 U.S. Durable goods orders June

(Reporting by Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)