March 20, 2019 / 1:27 AM / 2 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices slip as dollar firms ahead of Fed decision

March 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices snapped three consecutive sessions of gains on Wednesday as the dollar firmed, while investors awaited the results of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting later in the day.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was down about 0.2 percent at $1,304.27 per ounce as of 0105 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures also dipped about 0.2 percent to $1,304.50 an ounce.

* Spot palladium gained 0.1 percent to $1,597.79 an ounce, after surging past the $1,600 level for the first time to register a record high at $1,606 in the previous session.

* The dollar was up 0.1 percent against key rivals, after slipping to its lowest since March 1 in the previous session.

* Major currencies stuck to tight ranges in early Asian trading on Wednesday as investors awaited the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s March policy meeting later in the day.

* Traders currently expect there will be no U.S. rate hikes this year, and are even building in bets for a rate cut in 2020. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will speak at a news conference on Wednesday

* Prime Minister Theresa May will ask the European Union to delay Brexit by at least three months after her plan to hold a third vote on her fraught divorce deal was thrown into disarray by a surprise intervention from the speaker of parliament.

* U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to travel to China next week for another round of trade talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a Trump administration official said on Tuesday.

* New orders for U.S.-made goods rose less than expected in January and shipments fell for a fourth straight month, offering more evidence of a slowdown in manufacturing activity.

* Bank of Japan policymakers disagreed on how quickly the central bank should ramp up monetary stimulus, minutes of their January rate review showed on Wednesday, as heightening overseas risks threatened to derail the country’s fragile economic recovery.

* The United States imposed sanctions on Tuesday against Venezuela’s state-run gold mining company Minerven and its president, Adrian Perdomo, accusing them of illicit operations and propping up the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell about 0.2 percent on Tuesday.

DATA AHEAD (GMT) 0930 UK Consumer Prices (CPI) (Feb) 1800 U.S. Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee announces its decision on interest rates followed by statement 1830 U.S. Federal Reserve chairperson holds a news conference (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)

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