PRECIOUS-Gold steadies, Fed signals 'some' rate hikes for 2019

Dec 20 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Thursday, after declining about half a percent in the previous session as the U.S. Federal Reserve did not deliver as dovish a statement as some investors had expected.


* Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,244.41 per ounce, as of 0141 GMT. Prices slipped about 0.5 percent on Wednesday, in their sharpest decline since Nov. 27.

* U.S. gold futures declined 0.7 percent to $1,247.4 per ounce.

* Spot palladium climbed 0.7 percent to $1,268.50 per ounce after hitting a record high of $1,283.49 in the previous session.

* The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was slightly weaker.

* Asian shares retreated after the Fed raised rates, as expected, and kept most of its guidance for additional hikes next year, dashing investor hopes for a more dovish policy outlook.

* The Fed raised interest rates on Wednesday and noted that “some” rate hikes would be needed next year, a more aggressive stance than many expected.

* In a news conference, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank would continue trimming its balance sheet by $50 billion each month, leaving open the possibility that continued strong data could force it to raise rates to the point where they start to brake the economy’s momentum.

* U.S. benchmark Treasury yields fell to more than eight-month lows on Wednesday following Powell’s statement, which spurred safety buying of U.S. government debt.

* Most banking, insurance and other financial firms in Britain would be cut off from the European Union if there is a no-deal Brexit, the bloc’s executive body said on Wednesday.

* Italy’s two-year bond yield hit its lowest in almost seven months on Wednesday, following news that Italy had reached a deal over its 2019 budget with the European Commission.

* China’s economic growth is likely to slow to 6.2 percent in 2019 from an expected 6.5 percent this year, as headwinds increase due to its trade dispute with the United States, the World Bank said in a report published on Thursday.

* A South African union has filed an appeal to overturn a mining deal in which Sibanye-Stillwater intends to acquire rival Lonmin, Sibanye said on Wednesday. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)