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PRECIOUS-Gold prices rise for second session on softer dollar

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Gold prices were up for a second day in a row on the back of a weaker dollar, while investors awaited U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's first congressional testimony for clues on the future pace of monetary tightening.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,336.05 an ounce at 0116 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures were up 0.4 percent at $1,337.7 per ounce.

* The dollar index , which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies, was down 0.1 percent at 89.734.

* Powell's testimony could determine whether the greenback's recovery from a three-year low, that it hit on Feb. 16, can be sustained.

* The prospect of further interest rate increases by the Fed, more than what the market initially priced in, has bolstered the dollar in the last few weeks.

* There are some upside risks to the U.S. economic outlook but the degree to which it would affect monetary policy depends on whether the potential capacity of the nation's economy is also raised, Fed Governor Randal Quarles said on Monday.

* An era of low productivity growth and high world demand for safe assets may be anchoring central bank policy rates at a low level, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Monday.

* Slack in the euro zone economy may be bigger than previously estimated and this could slow the rise of inflation but only temporarily and prices will eventually climb, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Monday.

* SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.21 percent to 831.03 tonnes on Monday from 829.26 tonnes on Friday.

* Precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater arrested nearly 1,400 illegal miners at its South African gold shafts last year in a blitz the company says has mostly ended the practice at its mines.

* Miners in northwest Papua New Guinea reported some damage to infrastructure following a powerful magnitude 7.5 earthquake on the weekend, as projects in the resource-rich region assess the impact on their operations.

DATA AHEAD (In GMT)

0745 France Consumer confidence Feb 0900 Euro zone Money supply growth Jan 1000 Euro zone Business climate Feb 1300 Germany Consumer prices Feb 1330 U.S. Durable goods Jan 1330 U.S. Advance goods trade balance Jan 1400 U.S. Monthly home price index Dec 1400 U.S. Case-Shiller housing index Dec 1500 U.S. Consumer confidence Feb

1500 Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivers semi-annual monetary policy testimony before the House Financial Services Committee

(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Vyas Mohan)