PRECIOUS-Gold prices steady amid cautious mood, focus shifts to Fed

Sept 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed on Wednesday as investors maintained a cautious stance ahead of the conclusion of U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting, where policymakers are expected to cut interest rates.


* Spot gold was steady at $1,501.91 per ounce, as of 0100 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures were down 0.3% at $1,508.8 per ounce.

* The dollar traded near a seven-week high versus the yen as oil markets recovered from a supply shock, while global stocks stood little changed ahead of Fed’s policy decisions.

* Late-day swings in U.S. Federal funds futures implied late on Tuesday that traders see about a 51% chance that the Fed will lower key borrowing costs by 25 basis points after the policy-setting committee meets on Wednesday, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

* U.S. manufacturing output increased solidly in August, boosted by a surge in the production of machinery and other goods, but the outlook for factories remains weak amid rising headwinds from trade tensions and slowing global economies.

* The United States believes the attacks that crippled Saudi Arabian oil facilities last weekend originated in southwestern Iran, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday, an assessment that further increases tension in the Middle East.

* U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his administration could seal a deal on trade with China before the U.S. presidential election, or an agreement could be reached the day after U.S. voters go to the polls.

* UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson could recall parliament if Britain’s highest court rules he unlawfully suspended it, a government lawyer said on Tuesday, after judges heard that Johnson wanted a shutdown because it was an obstacle to his Brexit plans.

* The mood among German investors improved more than expected in September, a survey showed on Tuesday, but the ZEW institute warned that the outlook for Europe’s largest economy remained negative due to trade disputes and Brexit uncertainty.

* Japan’s exports slipped for a ninth straight month in August as international trade tensions ramped up risks for the world’s third-largest economy, although the decline was slightly smaller than expected.

* A fresh gold discovery by Barrick Gold Corp in Nevada is “fantastically significant” and shows there still is rich potential in the region for exploration, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said in an interview on Tuesday.

DATA AHEAD 0830 UK CPI YY Aug 0900 EU HICP Final MM Aug 0900 EU HICP Final YY Aug 1230 US Housing Starts Number Aug (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)