May 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices climbed to a record high on Monday after U.S. economic data last week cemented bets that the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates twice this year.


* Spot gold was up 0.6% at $2,430.19 per ounce, as of 0118 GMT. Bullion hit a record high of 2,440.49 earlier in the session.

* U.S. gold futures rose 0.7% at $2,434.50.

* Data last week offered the U.S. Federal Reserve good news on two fronts, but policymakers haven't openly shifted views yet about the timing of rate cuts investors are convinced will start this year.

* However, Fed Governor Michelle Bowman repeated her view that inflation will fall further with the policy rate held steady, but said she has seen no improvement on inflation this year and remains willing to hike rates should progress stall or reverse.

* Bullion is known as an inflation hedge, but higher rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold.

* China announced "historic" steps to stabilise its crisis-hit property sector, with the central bank facilitating 1 trillion yuan ($138 billion) in extra funding and easing mortgage rules, and local governments set to buy "some" apartments.

* BHP Group would need to boost its latest offer around 30% to reflect fair value for Anglo American and its key copper assets.

* An uptick in gold prices last week deterred physical purchases in top consumers, prompting dealers to offer lower premiums in China and deeper discounts after a key gold-buying festival in India.

* The global backdrop for Asian markets is still bright, with investors confident that the Fed will soon cut U.S. interest rates keeping the dollar, bond yields and volatility in check, and boosting risk assets.

* Spot silver rose 1.1% at $31.85 per ounce, platinum was up 0.5% at $1,085.95 and palladium edged 0.1% higher to $1,009.50.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0115 China Loan Prime Rate 1Y, 5Y May n/a UK House Price Rightmove MM, YY May (Reporting by Sherin Elizabeth Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)