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PRECIOUS-Gold set for third straight weekly gain on U.S. stimulus hopes

    Dec 18 (Reuters) - Gold eased on Friday, but was on track to
post its third consecutive weekly gain on growing expectations
for additional stimulus measures in the United States.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        fell 0.2% to $1,881.65 per ounce by 0107
GMT, but was up 2.3% so far this week. U.S. gold futures       
dipped 0.1% to $1,887.90. 
    * U.S. Congressional Republicans and Democrats scrambled to
pass a new round of coronavirus aid on Thursday with lawmakers
from both parties saying that failure to agree was no longer an
option.             
    * An unrelenting U.S. coronavirus surge pushed hospitals
further to their limits as the United States pressed on with its
immunization rollouts and prepared to ship nearly six million
doses of a new vaccine on the cusp of winning regulatory
approval.             
    *  A panel of outside advisers to a U.S. regulator
overwhelmingly endorsed emergency use of Moderna Inc's         
coronavirus vaccine.                         
    * U.S. weekly initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose last
week.             
   * The Bank of Japan is expected to extend on Friday a package
of steps aimed at easing corporate funding strains caused by the
coronavirus.             
   * British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office said trade
talks with the European Union were in a "serious situation" and
that no agreement would be reached unless the bloc changed its
position substantially.             
   * Awaiting the outcome of EU and UK trade talks, the Bank of
England kept its stimulus unchanged on Thursday.             
   * Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.2% to 1,167.82 tonnes
on Thursday.             
   * Silver        slipped 1% to $25.79 per ounce an ounce.
Platinum        dropped 0.8% to $1,035.91 and palladium       
fell 0.2% to $2,335.04. 
    
    DATA AHEAD(GMT)
0700 Germany Nov. Producer Prices 
0700 UK Nov. Retail Sales 
N/A  Bank of Japan rate decision 

 (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)
  
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