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PRECIOUS-Gold prices hold steady amid firm dollar

Oct 17 (Reuters) - Gold prices were steady early on Tuesday, after dipping below $1,300 an ounce in the previous session, as the dollar held firm on strong U.S. Treasury yields.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was unchanged at $1,293.60 an ounce at 0055 GMT. It shed 0.8 percent in the previous session.

* U.S. gold futures for December delivery fell 0.5 percent to $1,296 per ounce.

* The dollar held gains against the yen and euro on Tuesday, supported by a rise in Treasury yields following a report that U.S. President Donald Trump was favouring a policy hawk as the next head of the Federal Reserve.

* Trump will meet with Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday as part of his search for a new candidate for her position, a source familiar with the planned meeting said.

* The Fed will probably need to raise interest rates in December and then three of four times "over the course of next year", assuming the U.S. unemployment rate continues to fall and inflation rises, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said.

* U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday declared Obamacare "dead" and "gone," but urged Republicans and Democrats in Congress to craft a short-term fix of healthcare markets under the 7-year-old law that critics say he has effectively sabotaged.

* The United States and Japan made tentative progress on some long-standing trade irritants on Monday, during economic talks at which leaders emphasized cooperation at a time when North Korea is building up its nuclear capabilities.

* Confidence among Japanese manufacturers rebounded in October to match a peak last seen in mid-2007, a Reuters poll found, further evidence that the economic recovery is gathering momentum helped by a weak yen and strong overseas demand.

* The euro zone's trade surplus shrank in August as the stronger euro fuelled an import boom that was only partly offset by a rise in exports, official estimates released on Monday showed.

* Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lifted an eight-month suspension order on gold miner Lepanto Consolidated

Mining Co , among more than two dozen companies ordered

halted by a sacked minister who led an environmental crackdown.

DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)

0830 Britain Consumer prices Sep 0830 Britain Producer prices Sep 0900 Germany ZEW economic sentiment Oct 1000 Euro zone Inflation final Sep 1230 U.S. Import prices Sep 1230 U.S. Export prices Sep 1315 U.S. Industrial production Sep 1400 U.S. NAHB housing market index Oct

(Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)