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PRECIOUS-Gold holds steady; investors eye U.S. tax bill movements

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Gold traded little changed in early Asian trade on Tuesday amid a steady dollar with investors monitoring the progress of the U.S. tax reform bill.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was steady at $1,261.24 an ounce at 0059 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures were down 0.1 percent at $1,264.4 an ounce.

* The dollar remained mired in its recent ranges, as optimism that the U.S. tax reform bill would pass duelled with concerns about what its ultimate effect on growth would be.

* The Republican-controlled U.S. Congress appeared all but certain to pass sweeping tax legislation this week after two Senate Republican holdouts agreed on Monday to support a tax overhaul backed by President Donald Trump.

* Asian stocks advanced on Tuesday after a record-setting session on Wall Street on bets that U.S. lawmakers would pass a major tax overhaul, while the dollar sagged as traders were less sanguine about the bill's economic impact.

* Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari said on Monday he voted against the Fed's decision to raise interest rates last week over worries on weak inflation and a flattening of the yield curve.

* The United States was further isolated on Monday over Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital when it blocked a United Nations Security Council call for the declaration to be withdrawn.

* British Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament her plan on Monday for a Brexit transition period with broadly the same access to European Union markets but was met with scepticism from pro-Brexit lawmakers fearful of a watered-down EU exit.

* The Bank of Japan is expected to maintain its massive stimulus programme at a monetary meeting ending on Thursday despite growing signs of improvement in the economy, keeping its money tap wide open to ensure that recovery translates into higher inflation.

* SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.84 percent to 837.20 tonnes on Monday from 844.29 tonnes on Friday.

DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)

0900 Germany Ifo business climate Dec 1000 Euro zone Labour costs Q3 1330 U.S. Current account Q3 1330 U.S. Housing starts Nov 1330 U.S. Building permits Nov

(Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)