PRECIOUS-Gold prices steady in run-up to Fed meeting

BENGALURU, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices were largely steady on Tuesday ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that starts later in the day, with investors looking for clues on the central bank’s outlook for next year.


* Spot gold was little changed at $1,245.40 per ounce as of 0119 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures were down 0.2 percent at $1,249.6 per ounce.

* The dollar was steady at 97.132 versus most of its major peers on Tuesday, after losing 0.4 percent in the previous session.

* Asian share markets stumbled on Tuesday as heightened concerns about a slowing global economy sent Wall Street stocks skidding to their lowest levels in more than a year.

* The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is widely expected to raise interest rates at its two-day meeting starting later in the day. However, the focus will be on the outlook for 2019, with many investors expecting signs of economic turbulence to prompt the Fed to signal a slow down in the pace of tightening next year.

* Days before the Fed is expected to raise interest rates for a fourth time this year, U.S. President Donald Trump and his top trade adviser on Monday ratcheted up their criticism of the central bank’s monetary tightening.

* Investors are looking to a major speech by China’s President Xi Jinping at 0200 GMT to mark the 40th anniversary of China’s market reforms.

* China is also expected to hold its annual Central Economic Work Conference later this week, where key growth targets and policy goals for 2019 will be discussed.

* Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday she would bring her Brexit deal back to parliament for a mid-January vote, which could oblige lawmakers to make a decision between her deal or leaving without one on March 29, a nightmare scenario for many businesses.

* Italy said it hoped to clinch a deal with the European Commission later on Monday on its contested 2019 budget, hours after the government sent an amended version to Brussels.

* Kazakhstan and Turkey raised their gold holdings in November, according to the International Monetary Fund. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru Editing by Joseph Radford)