PRECIOUS-Gold prices stable; all eyes on Fed summit for rate-cut direction

Aug 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices were steady on Thursday, holding above the key $1,500 an ounce level, as investors awaited a central bankers' conclave for clues on future interest rate cuts.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was flat at $1,501.73 per ounce by 0143 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures were down 0.3% at $1,511.50 an ounce.

* Minutes of the Federal Reserve's July meeting, released on Wednesday, showed policymakers were divided over whether to cut interest rates, but were united in wanting to signal they were not on a path to more easing.

* Futures are still fully priced for a quarter-point cut in rates next month, and over 100 basis points of easing by the end of next year.

* Focus has now shifted to the central bank's Jackson Hole seminar later this week, where Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will give a speech on Friday.

* Traders are also looking at the Group of Seven summit this weekend for clues on what additional steps policymakers may take to boost economic growth.

* Hopes for U.S. fiscal stimulus also got a knock when President Donald Trump reversed course and said he was not looking at cutting payroll taxes.

* A range of manufacturing surveys from across the globe are due later on Thursday and risks are they will show a further slowdown in activity, especially in Europe.

* Minutes from the European Central Bank's last policy meeting are also awaited and markets are looking for more details on exactly when and how aggressively it might ease policy.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.80% to 851.91 tonnes on Wednesday.

* The holdings have increased about 3%, or around 24 tonnes, so far this month.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

* 0715 France Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs Aug

* 0730 Germany Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs Aug

* 0800 EU Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs Aug

* 1230 US Initial Jobless Claims Weekly

* 1345 US Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs Aug

* 1400 EU Consumer Confid. Flash Aug (Reporting by Harshith Aranya in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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