Gold firm ahead of final US presidential debate

Gold prices were stable early on Thursday, after rising 0.5 percent in the previous session, with markets keeping a close watch on the final US presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.


* Spot gold XAU= was broadly steady at $1,268.85 an ounce by 0053 GMT.

* US gold futures GCcv1 were little changed at $1,270.00 an ounce.

* US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump faces a formidable challenge when he and Democrat Hillary Clinton face off in their third and final debate at 0100 GMT Thursday at the University of Las Vegas Nevada.

* The dollar was steady in early trading on Thursday, as investors awaited the final debate before next month's US presidential election as well as a European Central Bank meeting later in the day. [USD/]

* The dollar index .DXY, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was down 0.02 percent at 97.90.

* The European Central Bank is set to keep policy unchanged on Thursday but will likely lay the groundwork for more easing in December as it tries to sustain a long-awaited rebound in consumer prices.

* US inflation, which has under-run the Federal Reserve's 2-percent target for years, is "likely firming," Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said on Wednesday, adding that some removal of monetary accommodation will be appropriate.

* Crude oil prices rose to a 15-month high on Wednesday after a surprise US inventory drawdown, boosting energy shares.

* Gold prices in India swung to a premium for the first time in nine months on Wednesday as jewellers and dealers in the world's No.2 consumer of the metal ramped up purchases ahead of major festivals.