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PRECIOUS-Gold holds steady amid softer dollar

Dec 4 (Reuters) - Gold was steady early Tuesday, supported by a slightly weaker dollar, after falling in the previous session as proposed changes to U.S. tax rules that could lead to faster economic growth moved a step closer.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was nearly unchanged at $1,276.38 an ounce by 0057 GMT. It shed 0.3 percent in the previous session.

* U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,279.

* The dollar held on to modest gains against its peers on Tuesday, with its rise made at the week's start slowing as the market awaited the next phase of the U.S. tax reform saga for cues.

* New orders for U.S.-made goods fell less than expected in October and shipments of core capital goods were much stronger than previously reported, pointing to sustained strength in manufacturing that should buoy the economy.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve is almost certain to raise interest rates later this month, according to a Reuters poll of economists, a majority of whom now expect three more rate rises next year compared with two when surveyed just weeks ago.

* The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on Monday named Thomas Barkin, an executive at global consulting firm McKinsey & Co, as its next president, a position that will have a vote on U.S. interest rate policy next year.

* The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to President Donald Trump by allowing his latest travel ban targeting people from six Muslim-majority countries to go into full effect even as legal challenges continue in lower courts.

* The Bank of Japan does not plan to change its massive stimulus programme and will "immediately act" if risks to the economy undermine the momentum toward achieving its inflation target, central bank Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Monday.

* The European Central Bank will not purchase bonds as part of its stimulus package from Dec 21 to Dec 29 on expectation market liquidity will drop sharply around the Christmas holidays, it said on Monday.

* SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.14 percent to 846.93 tonnes on Monday from 848.11 tonnes on Friday. The Perth Mint's sales of gold and silver products nearly halved in November from a month ago, the mint said in a blog post on its website on Monday.

DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)

0145 China Caixin services PMI Nov 0850 France Markit services PMI Nov 0855 Germany Markit services PMI Nov 0900 Euro zone Markit services PMI final Nov 1000 Euro zone Retail sales Oct 1330 U.S. International trade Oct 1500 U.S. ISM non-manufacturing PMI Nov

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