PRECIOUS-Gold holds steady amid easing dollar ahead of Fed minutes

* Fed June minutes due at 1800 GMT

* Spot gold may retrace to support at $1,248/oz - technicals

* Dollar falls to one-week low

* Asian equities extend losses before U.S. tariff deadline

(Adds comment and updates prices) BENGALURU, July 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices traded in a narrow range on Thursday, after hitting a one-week high in the previous session, amid an easing dollar and as markets awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's June policy meeting minutes for outlook on monetary policy.

Spot gold held steady at $1,254.85 an ounce as of

0715 GMT. The metal touched a one-week high at $1,261.10 in the prior session and gained over $20 from Tuesday's low of $1,237.32 an ounce, its weakest since Dec. 12.

U.S. gold futures for August delivery were 0.2

percent higher at $1,255.70 an ounce.

The dollar index , which measures the greenback

against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.4 percent at 94.325. It fell to an over one-week low earlier in the session. "Traders have their focus on the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) minutes and the general stance is that the minutes are going to be hawkish," said ThinkMarkets chief market analyst Naeem Aslam. "Moreover, we have the U.S. NFP (non-farm payrolls) data due tomorrow, one would not like to have any bullish bets on gold when the labor market trend is strong." The minutes of Fed's June meeting is scheduled to be published at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). At the meeting central bank had projected two more rate hikes in 2018 for a total of four.

Investors are also awaiting U.S. non-farm payrolls and unemployment data on Friday. Last month, U.S. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed should continue with a gradual pace of interest rate rises amid a strong economy to balance its employment and inflation goals.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising interest rates, as these increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar in which the metal is priced. "Gold, however, remains in a bit of a conundrum as political instability and escalating trade war triggers a buy signal, yet the steady U.S. dollar strength continues to nip those ideas in the bud," said Stephen Innes, APAC trading head at OANDA. Asian stocks fell for the fourth day and major currencies traded in tight ranges on Thursday, with financial markets jittery before a U.S. deadline to impose tariffs on Chinese imports just a day away. The United States is set to impose tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods on July 6. Spot gold may retrace to a support at $1,248 per ounce, as it has failed to break a resistance at $1,258, Reuters technicals analyst Wang Tao said.

Among other precious metals, silver was nearly

unchanged at $16.05 an ounce.

Palladium rose 0.3 percent at $948.70 an ounce, while platinum was trading 0.2 percent higher at $841.80 an

ounce.

(Reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru; Editing by Vyas Mohan and Sunil Nair)