PRECIOUS-Gold steadies as investors await U.S. inflation data for taper cues

Oct 13 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Wednesday as investors awaited U.S. inflation data and minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting for clues as to when the central bank would start withdrawing its pandemic stimulus.


* Spot gold was flat at $1,760.46 per ounce by 0015 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,761.20.

* Three Fed policymakers said on Tuesday the economy has healed enough for the central bank to begin to withdraw its crisis-era support, cementing expectations the Fed will start to taper its monthly bond purchases as soon as next month.

* Reduced central bank stimulus and interest rate hikes tend to push government bond yields up, translating into a higher opportunity cost for holding gold that pays no interest.

* As inflationary pressures mount worldwide, money markets are charging ahead with pricing aggressive interest rate rises, in most cases betting that policy will be tightened far sooner and at a much faster pace than rate-setters are signalling.

* Persistent supply chain disruptions and inflation pressures are constraining the global economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund said as it cut growth outlooks for the United States and other major industrial powers.

* The number of Americans voluntarily quitting their jobs surged to a record high in August and there were more than 10 million vacancies, pointing to a tightening labour market.

* Spot silver gained 0.1% to $22.54 per ounce, while platinum fell 0.1% to $1,006.05. Palladium was 0.1% higher at $2,047.80 per ounce. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0600 UK GDP Est 3M/3M Aug 0600 UK GDP Estimate MM, YY Aug 0600 UK Manufacturing Output MM Aug 0600 Germany HICP Final YY Sept 1230 US CPI MM, SA Sept 1800 US Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes from its Sept. 21-22 policy meeting n/a China Exports, Imports YY Sept n/a China Trade Balance Sept (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)