PRECIOUS-Gold holds near 2-1/2-week low as US rate outlook weighs – Reuters

* Gold firms after 4-day losing streak
    * Dollar slips against basket of major currencies
    * Fed meet next big factor for gold prices -traders

 (Updates prices)
    By A. Ananthalakshmi
    SINGAPORE, Sept 8 Gold steadied on Tuesday after
a four-day losing streak as the dollar eased, but the metal was
not too far from a 2-1/2-week low as it struggled to find
direction amid uncertainty over a looming U.S interest rate
hike.
    Spot gold was little changed at $1,119.40 an ounce by
0643 GMT. It slid to $1,116.20 on Monday, its lowest since Aug.
19. U.S. gold eased 0.3 percent to $1,118.30.
    The dollar index fell 0.4 percent. 
    Investors had been waiting on Friday's U.S. jobs report to
gauge the strength of the economic recovery and whether it would
prompt the Federal Reserve to hike rates at its policy meet
later this month. But the data failed to provide adequate
clarity regarding a Fed move amid volatility in financial
markets. 
    "We are unlikely to see a big move until the Fed meeting,"
said a bullion trader in Hong Kong. "Gold is not even reacting
much to what we are seeing in the equities market."
    Gold prices have been dented this year by expectations the
Fed will hike rates for the first time in nearly a decade. The
Fed meets next on Sept. 16-17.     
    Investors believe higher rates could diminish demand for
non-interest-paying gold, while boosting the dollar.
    "Gold continues to test support around $1,115-$1,117, with
dips still well bought. Short term we see $1,115-$1,130 as the
likely range," said MKS Group trader Sam Laughlin.
    Gold has failed to find a strong safe-haven bid despite the
recent weakness in stocks due to worries over the Chinese
economy, showing that gold is struggling to find direction
outside of U.S. monetary policy. 
    Bullion investors will be watching China's August data over
coming weeks to see if the economy is at risk of a hard landing.
    A stock market crash and the unexpected devaluation of the
yuan currency in August have heightened concerns about stability
in the world's second-largest economy, with some also believing
the weakness could prompt the Fed to delay its rate hike.
    Data on Tuesday showed China's August exports fell less than
expected but a steeper slide in imports pointed to continuing
economic weakness. 
    
    PRICES AT 0643 GMT    
 Metal            Last     Change   Pct chg
                                           
 Spot gold         1119.4      0.3     0.03
 Spot silver         14.5    -0.05    -0.34
 Spot platinum        985      1.5     0.15
 Spot palladium    580.35      5.1     0.89
 Comex gold        1118.3     -3.1    -0.28
 Comex silver       14.47   -0.079    -0.54
 Euro              1.1208                  
 DXY               95.856                  
                                           
 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the
 most active months
 
 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin and
Anand Basu)