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PRECIOUS-Gold stalls ahead of Fed policy statement, tariffs deadline

 (Updates prices)
    * Markets await FOMC statement later in the day
    * Trade negotiators push for a delay in Dec. tariffs - WSJ
    * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl 

    By K. Sathya Narayanan
    Dec 11 (Reuters) - Gold was little changed on Wednesday as
market activity remained largely subdued ahead of the U.S.
central bank's economic policy statement and a fast-approaching
tariffs deadline, while palladium hovered near previous
session's record high.
    Spot gold        gained 0.1% to $1,465.18 per ounce as of
0741 GMT. U.S. gold futures         were also up 0.1% at
$1,469.50.
    "The market is in a holding pattern. Stocks, oil, currencies
and gold are awaiting the events that are coming in the second
half of the week," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst,
Asia Pacific at OANDA.                   
    The Federal Reserve will issue a statement on its December
policy meeting later in the day. Although the central bank is
expected to leave interest rates unchanged, investors are eager
to hear its outlook for the economy, mainly hit by the
U.S.-China trade war.             
    "The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will update the
dot-plot, so that will be closely watched," Halley said.
    "If they provide a more dovish outlook, that would
potentially weaken the dollar, which will be positive for gold."
    On the trade front, investors maintained a cautious stance
as U.S. President Donald Trump has to decide whether to impose
tariffs on nearly $160 billion in Chinese consumer goods just
weeks before Christmas.             
    The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that trade
negotiators on both sides were planning to delay the December
tariffs.             
    "Should both parties fail to reach positive consensus, gold
prices will receive strength over lacklustre risk appetites for
the near term," Phillip Futures analyst Benjamin Lu said in a
note.
    On the technical front, signals are mixed for spot gold as
it kept bouncing towards a resistance at $1,466 per ounce,
according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.         
    The palladium        gained 0.2% to $1,899.67 an ounce,
having surged past the key level of $1,900 an ounce for the
first time on Tuesday.
    Speculative buying and a mine closure in major producer
South Africa have supported palladium prices, which are expected
to rise further in the longer term, a trader from Japan-based
retailer Tokuriki Honten Co. said.
    Mines across South Africa were shutting down after a largest
power blackout in more than a decade, with some major players
forced to cut production.             
    The news had also supported platinum prices, which rose as
much as 3% in the last session, the most since at least early
September. On Wednesday, the metal        fell 0.5%, to $916.93
per ounce.
    Silver        slipped 0.1% to $16.64 per ounce.

 (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Rashmi Aich and Arun Koyyur)
  
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