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PRECIOUS-Gold little changed as traders focus on U.S. inflation data

Jan 27 (Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed in early Asian hours on Friday, as traders awaited U.S. inflation data due later in the day to gauge the Federal Reserve's rate-hike stance.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,931.95 per ounce, as of 0030 GMT, and was headed for a sixth consecutive weekly gain. U.S. gold futures were up 0.1% at $1,932.00.

* Investors are now awaiting U.S. personal consumption expenditures (PCE) data due at 1330 GMT for clues on inflation.

* On Thursday, bullion prices fell 1% due to a firmer dollar and strong U.S. economic data that could prompt the Fed to keep interest rates higher for longer.

* The U.S. economy maintained a strong pace of growth in the fourth quarter as consumers boosted spending on goods, but momentum appears to have slowed considerably towards the end of the year.

* Market participants are still expecting the Fed to raise rates by 25 basis points (bps) at its Jan. 31-Feb. 1 policy meeting.

* Lower interest rates tend to be beneficial for bullion, decreasing the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding asset.

* Data from the U.S. Labor Department on Thursday showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 186,000 for the week ended Jan. 21, the lowest level since April 2022.

* Spot silver gained 0.3% to $23.95 per ounce, platinum rose 0.1% to $1,018.71, and palladium climbed 0.2% to $1,680.03.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

1330 US Consumption Adjusted MM Dec

1330 US U Mich Sentiment Final Jan (Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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