PRECIOUS-Gold steady, set for biggest weekly gain in two months

Sept 23 (Reuters) - Gold was little changed early Friday, but remained set for the biggest weekly gain in nearly two months after rising to a two-week high in the previous session. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was steady at $1,337.60 an ounce by 0109 GMT, on track for a 2 percent rise this week, its biggest gain since late July. * U.S. gold futures were down 0.3 percent at $1,341.20 an ounce. * The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week to a two-month low, pointing to labor market strength that could pave the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by December. * Bank of England policymaker Kristin Forbes said she did not see a case for a further interest rate cut to help Britain's economy after June's vote to leave the European Union, putting her at odds with the majority of her fellow rate-setters. * The European Central Bank needs to have a flexible approach over the time needed to reach its inflation objective to ensure its policies are aligned with financial stability objectives, Governing Council Klaas Knot said on Thursday. * By dallying over raising interest rates the U.S. Federal Reserve made it easier this week for central banks in the Asia Pacific to stay dovish, with Indonesia lowering rates on Thursday and Australia and New Zealand saying they could cut later. * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.69 percent to 950.92 tonnes on Thursday. * A Ugandan company backed by a Belgian investor is due to open the East African country's first gold refinery by the end of this year to process raw gold produced mainly from the region, a senior company official told Reuters. * Morocco's biggest mining company Managem posted a 63 percent drop in first-half net profit to 52 million dirhams ($5.35 million) on Thursday, citing weak global commodities prices. * For the top stories on metals and other news, click or DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT) 0700 France Markit manufacturing PMI flash September 0700 France Markit services PMI flash September 0730 Germany Markit manufacturing PMI flash September 0730 Germany Markit services PMI flash September 0800 Euro zone Markit manufacturing PMI flash September 0800 Euro zone Markit services PMI flash September 1345 U.S. Markit manufacturing PMI flash September (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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