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PRECIOUS-Gold prices edge down amid firmer dollar, equities

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched down early on Monday, pressured by firmer equities and a buoyant dollar after a bill to overhaul the tax system in the United States moved a step closer to ratification.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,254.16 an ounce at 0059 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,257 an ounce.

* The dollar held modest gains against the euro and yen on Monday, having received a lift after U.S. tax reform efforts moved another step closer to ratification over the weekend.

* Top U.S. Republicans said on Sunday they expected Congress to pass a tax code overhaul this week, with a Senate vote as early as Tuesday and President Donald Trump aiming to sign the bill by week's end.

* Asian shares inched up on Monday, tracking Wall Street, which hit record highs on expectations U.S. lawmakers will pass a long-awaited tax bill.

* The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Monday on a draft resolution calling for the withdrawal of U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, diplomats said, a move likely to face a Washington veto.

* The United States provided intelligence to Russia that helped thwart a potentially deadly bomb attack in St. Petersburg, U.S. and Russian officials said on Sunday, in a rare public show of cooperation despite deep strains between the two countries.

* U.S. industrial production rose less than expected in November as a drop in utilities output offset a post-hurricane rebound in the oil and gas industries and the third consecutive monthly advance for manufacturing, the Federal Reserve said on Friday.

* The European Union agreed on Friday to move Brexit talks onto trade and a transition pact but some leaders cautioned that the final year of divorce negotiations before Britain's exit could be fraught with peril.

* The Russian central bank delivered a sharper-than-expected rate cut on Friday, a move that could help give consumers a feel-good factor months before the March presidential election which incumbent Vladimir Putin is expected to win.

DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)

0130 China House prices Nov 1500 U.S. NAHB housing market index Dec

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