* Gold hovers near 2-month peak
* Fed policy decision due at 1900 GMT
* Spot gold may rise into a range of $1,860 to $1,872/oz - technicals
Jan 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices were steady on Wednesday as investors refrained from making big bets ahead of a decision on the pace of policy tightening by the U.S. central bank, while tensions surrounding Ukraine kept bullion near the previous session’s 10-week high.
Spot gold held its ground at $1,845.70 per ounce, as of 0738 GMT, after hitting its highest level since Nov. 19 on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures were down 0.3% at $1,847.10.
Gold will be supported “as long as they (the Fed) don’t spook the markets with anything new, as long as they don’t advance the narrative and things sound basically about where they are, which is 3 to 4 rate hikes this year,” DailyFX currency strategist Ilya Spivak said.
The U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy decision is due at 1900 GMT, and Fed funds futures have fully priced in a quarter-point tightening for the March meeting, plus three more for 2022.
Although gold is considered a hedge against inflation and geopolitical risks, interest rate hikes would raise the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
Expected rate hikes by the Fed may delay emerging Asia’s economic recovery and keep pressure on policymakers to guard against the risk of capital outflows, a senior International Monetary Fund official said on Tuesday.
U.S. President Joe Biden has said he would consider personal sanctions on President Vladimir Putin if Russia invades Ukraine, as Western leaders stepped up military preparations and made plans to shield Europe from a potential energy supply shock.
SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose about 0.5% to 1,013.10 tonnes on Tuesday.
Spot gold may rise into a range of $1,860 to $1,872 per ounce, as it has pierced above a resistance at $1,850, according to Reuters’ technical analyst Wang Tao.
Spot silver fell 0.5% to $23.69 an ounce. Palladium shed 0.1% to $2,197.80, while platinum was up 0.3% to $1,028.50. (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Elaine Hardcastle)
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