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PRECIOUS-Gold steady ahead of central bank speeches at Jackson Hole

BENGALURU, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Gold was unchanged early Friday, with investors awaiting directional clues from speeches due later in the day at a gathering of central bankers at Jackson Hole in the United States.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was unchanged at $1,286.10 an ounce by 0051 GMT, after dropping nearly 0.3 percent in the previous session.

* U.S. gold futures for December delivery were flat at $1,291.60 per ounce.

* The dollar was buoyant against the yen on Friday as some participants bought back the currency to square positions ahead of the Jackson Hole meeting.

* The world's top central bankers will meet with their confidence bolstered by a sustained return to economic growth that may eventually allow the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan to follow the Federal Reserve in winding down their crisis-era policies.

* Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is due to speak at 1400 GMT and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will speak at 1900 GMT.

* After a turbulent year of anti-globalization backlash, central bankers still argue open borders and free trade are the key to more jobs, growth and prosperity.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve said on Thursday it requested public comments on a plan for the New York Federal Reserve and the Office of Financial Research to come up with three reference rates based on U.S. Treasuries-backed repurchase agreements (repos).

* President Donald Trump picked a new fight on Thursday with his fellow Republicans, saying congressional leaders could have avoided a "mess" over raising the U.S. debt ceiling if they had taken his advice.

* With photographs obliquely showing a new rocket design, North Korea has sent a message that it is working on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) more powerful than any it has previously tested, weapons experts said on Thursday.

* China's net gold imports via main conduit Hong Kong increased 2.3 percent in July from the previous month, data showed on Thursday.

* Japan's core consumer prices rose 0.5 percent in July from a year earlier to mark a seventh straight gaining month, a sign the economy is making slow but steady progress toward meeting the central bank's 2 percent inflation target.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0600 Germany Detailed GDP Q2 0600 Germany Import prices Jul 0645 France Consumer confidence Aug 0800 Germany Ifo business climate Aug 1230 U.S. Durable goods Jul

1400 Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks in Jackson Hole 1900 European Central Bank President Mario Draghi speaks in Jackson Hole

(Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin)