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UPDATE 1-Uber reports 2nd-quarter loss of $645 mln; ride bookings grow

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SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc reported on Wednesday that its losses narrowed in the second quarter by 9 percent and ride bookings rose, but the company is still a long way from being profitable.

Uber said its net loss was $645 million, down from $708 million in the first quarter and $991 million in the fourth quarter of last year. The steady shrinking of losses signals Uber's efforts to reign in massive spending to subsidize rates for both drivers and customers and other competitive tactics as it battles rivals in tough markets like South Asia.

Last year, San Francisco-based Uber lost about $3 billion.

As a private company, Uber is not required to publicly disclose its finances, but it started the practice earlier this year as it eyes an initial public offering in the near future.

The rate of growth suggests Uber's business has persevered despite a recent string of scandals, but it is still losing a historic sum of money and its executives have declined to offer a timetable for profitability.

Some investors have eyed Uber's $68 billion valuation with skepticism, and recently four mutual fund investors marked down the value of their Uber shares by as much as 15 percent.

The company said its gross ride bookings for the second quarter reached $8.7 billion, up from $7.5 billion in the first quarter. The number of global trips on the app increased 150 percent over the previous year, with growth strongest in developing markets.

Those numbers include trips in Russia, where Uber recently merged its operations with local rival Yandex.

Adjusted net revenue ticked up to $1.75 billion from $1.5 billion in the first quarter, Uber said.

Since 2010, Uber has raised more than $15 billion from investors, which has allowed it to operate at a loss. The company said it has $6.6 billion in the bank, down from around $7.2 billion in the first quarter.

News site Axios first reported Uber's second-quarter results. (Editing by Alistair Bell and Leslie Adler)