* Gold was little changed at $1,647.06 an ounce by 0045 GMT after falling to its weakest level since August in the previous session on heavy liquidation by hedge funds and signs of an improving U.S. economy.
* U.S. gold for February rose $2.30 an ounce to $1,648.20.
* The U.S. House of Representatives abruptly recessed on Thursday amid uncertainty whether Republicans had the votes needed to pass a "fiscal cliff" tax plan offered by Speaker John Boehner.
* Iraq made its first major move in years to bolster its gold reserves in recent months, while Brazil increased its holdings of bullion by almost a third in November, data from the International Monetary Fund showed on Thursday.
* Despite the euro zone's own debt problems, the euro was on track to end the year some 2 percent higher against the greenback. It was at $1.3251, near an eight-month high around $1.3309 set this week.
* Japan's Nikkei share average rose on Friday and may test a nine-month high after Wall Street stocks climbed on hopes for progress in U.S. fiscal talks, with exporters gaining on a weaker yen.
* U.S. crude stayed above $90 a barrel after five days of gains, though prices pulled back a touch on caution over U.S. budget talks as Republicans in the U.S. Congress pushed ahead with a plan that stands no chance of becoming law.
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012