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PRECIOUS-Gold steady near 7-week highs ahead of U.S. jobs data

Aug 4 - Gold on Friday held steady near seven-week highs hit earlier this week, as the dollar eased to hover near multi-month lows ahead of key monthly U.S. non-farm payrolls data later in the day.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,268.75 per ounce at 0106 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures for December delivery were mostly unchanged at $1,274.90 per ounce.

* The dollar index , which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major peers, languished near multi-month lows hit earlier this week.

* The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to a tightening labor market that likely keeps the Federal Reserve on course to announce plans next month to start reducing its massive bond portfolio.

* A grand jury has issued subpoenas in connection with a June 2016 meeting that included President Donald Trump's son, his son-in-law and a Russian lawyer, two sources told Reuters on Thursday, signaling an investigation is gathering pace into suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

* A flurry of data in coming weeks should show steady growth in China in July, though the potential for increased trade friction with the United States poses a risk to the world's second-largest economy as it navigates a tighter policy environment.

* The Bank of England kept interest rates at a record low again on Thursday and cut its forecasts for growth and wages as it warned that Brexit was weighing on the economy.

* China on Thursday welcomed comments by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the United States is not seeking to topple the North Korean government and would like dialog with Pyongyang at some point, saying China had always supported talks.

* The U.S. economy is on track to expand at a 4.0 percent annualized pace in the third quarter with inventory investment contributing 1.12 percentage points to growth, the Atlanta Fed's GDP Now forecast model showed on Thursday.

* A gauge of world stocks declined as Wall Street dipped on Thursday, although European shares rallied, while sterling hit a nine-month low against the euro after the Bank of England's policymakers kept interest rates unchanged.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0600 Germany Industrial orders June 1230 U.S. Nonfarm payrolls July 1230 U.S. Unemployment rate July 1230 U.S. International trade June

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