PRECIOUS-Gold hits over 3-week high in thin-volume trade

Dec 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged up on Tuesday, hitting a more than three-week high, in low-volume trade amid a weaker dollar.


* Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,277.98 an ounce at 0115 GMT on Tuesday, after hitting its highest since Dec. 1 at $1,278.14.

* The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, edged down 0.1 percent to 93.283 .

* U.S. gold futures rose 0.3 percent to $1,282.20 an ounce.

* The futures market was closed for the Christmas holiday on Monday.

* Palladium prices jumped to 17-year highs on Friday as strong demand from autocatalyst makers reinforced the prospect of market shortages.

* Spot palladium was steady at $1,038.10 an ounce on Tuesday. It touched its highest since February 2001 at $1,042.50 on Friday.

* Analysts expect that about 80 percent of global palladium demand will come from autocatalysts for gasoline-powered cars, which many now prefer over diesel-fueled vehicles.

* Japan's core consumer prices rose for the 11th straight month and household spending jumped in November, offering the central bank some hope a steady economic recovery will gradually drive up inflation to its 2 percent target.

* The Shanghai Futures Exchange cut its margin requirements for gold and silver futures contracts from Jan. 2.

* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.18 percent to 837.50 tonnes on Friday from 836.02 tonnes on Thursday.

* Hedge funds and money managers increased their bearish position in COMEX silver contracts to a record in the week to Dec. 19, while they increased their net long stance in gold, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.

* U.S. growth prospects dimmed on Friday as data showed spending outpaced income in November and the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation measure -- the personal consumption expenditures price index that excludes food and energy -- rose by just 0.1 percent in November.

* The passage of a sweeping U.S. tax reform bill investors have been anxiously anticipating for months caused large redemptions in equities and bonds last week as a building consensus in the market suggested any benefits had already been priced in.

* Workers at Pan African Resource's , Barberton gold mine in South Africa have ended a wildcat strike that started on Sunday, an industry source said on Friday.

* Gold demand across major centers in Asia was subdued last week as a modest rebound in prices weighed on investor appetite.


1400 U.S. S&P Case-Shiller home price Oct 1500 U.S. Richmond Fed manufacturing index Dec 1500 U.S. Consumer confidence Dec 1530 Dallas Fed Texas manufacturing activity index Dec

(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)