Gold eased early on Friday as the dollar drifted away from a one month-low, but the metal stayed near a three-week high and remained on track for a second straight weekly rise.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold XAU= was down 0.2 percent at $1,266.40 an ounce by 0058 GMT. Bullion on Thursday touched its highest since May 18 at $1,271.31.

* The safe haven asset, which has gained nearly 20 percent so far 2016, has risen 1.8 percent this week.

* US gold GCcv1 fell 0.3 percent to $1,269.50

* The dollar index .DXY stood at 94.191, pulling away from a trough near 93.400. Driving the index's rise was a bearish turn in the euro.

* The Federal Reserve is likely to raise US interest rates in September and possibly as soon as July, according to a Reuters poll taken in the days after news of a sharp drop in hiring that has led some to worry that the economy is losing momentum.

* The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, pointing to sustained strength in the labour market despite a sharp slowdown in hiring last month.

* The US economy is on track to grow at a 2.5 percent annualised rate in the second quarter, the Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDPNow forecast model showed.

* Investors pumped the most funds into US-based emerging-market stock funds since March in the latest week, Lipper data released on Thursday showed.

* Sales of bullion bars and coins have picked up in London, ahead of the June 23 referendum on Britain's exit from the European Union, as latest polls suggested that the 'leave' campaign is gaining support.

* Holding in SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.71 percent to 887.38 tonnes on Thursday. [GOL/ETF]

* Members of South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will not return to work at Northam Platinum's (NHMJ.J) Zondereinde mine until they receives assurances over security from police and the company, an NUM spokesman said on Thursday.

MARKET REPORT

* Asian shares stepped back on Friday while investors poured funds into safe-haven assets amid festering concerns about the British referendum. [MKTS/GLOB]