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PRECIOUS-Gold prices steady amid firm dollar

Oct 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices were nearly unchanged early on Thursday as the dollar held firm on the back of strong U.S. Treasury yields.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was steady at $1,281.24 an ounce at 0053 GMT. It hit an over one-week low of $1,276.73 in the previous session.

* U.S. gold futures for December delivery were flat at $1,283 per ounce.

* The dollar index was nearly unchanged at 93.320. It was flat versus the yen

* The U.S. economy expanded at a modest to moderate pace in September through early October despite the impact of hurricanes on some regions, the Federal Reserve said in its latest snapshot of the U.S. economy released on Wednesday, but there were still few signs of an acceleration in inflation.

* President Donald Trump will announce his decision on who will be the chair of the Federal Reserve in the "coming days," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday.

* An overhaul of U.S. tax code to make it simpler and more broad-based should foster business investments and productivity, boosting overall domestic economic growth, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said on Wednesday.

* U.S. Senate Republicans appeared to have enough votes on Wednesday to pass a budget measure that is crucial to President Donald Trump's hopes of enacting tax reform legislation before the end of the year.

* Easy monetary policy gives euro zone governments a window of opportunity to enact the reforms needed to boost growth once interest rates have to rise, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Wednesday.

* Catalonia's leader pledged to press ahead with his independence bid if Spain moves to suspend the region's autonomy, a regional government source said on Wednesday, hours before a deadline over keeping the euro zone's fourth-largest economy united.

* British pay growth has lagged behind inflation again, official data showed on Wednesday, adding to questions about how quickly the Bank of England will raise interest rates after an initial hike expected on Nov. 2.

* Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia is exploring options for its gold business ScotiaMocatta, including a possible sale of the world's oldest gold trader, three sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)

0200 China GDP Q3 0200 China Industrial output Sep 0200 China Retail sales Sep 0200 China Urban investment Sep 0830 Britain Retail sales Sep 1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims 1230 U.S. Philly Fed business index Oct 1400 U.S. Leading index Sep

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