June 13, 2018 / 4:16 AM / in 5 days

PRECIOUS-Gold steady as markets cautious ahead of Fed statement

    * Fed statement due at 1800 GMT
    * Fed rate hike priced in, focus on monetary policy outlook 
    * ECB, BOJ policy meetings due later this week
    * Dollar at 3-week high vs yen

 (Adds details; updates prices)
    By Karen Rodrigues
    BENGALURU, June 13 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on
Wednesday after falling to a one-week low in the previous
session, as investors waited for clues on the pace of future
interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve when its policy
meeting concludes later in the day.
    Spot gold        was little changed at $1,295.02 per ounce
at 0634 GMT after it touched a one-week low of $1,292.60 in the
previous session.
    U.S. gold futures         for August delivery were 0.1
percent lower at $1,298.50 per ounce.
    "The rate hike is almost a done deal, it is quite clear that
they will most likely increase rates by another 25 basis points,
but the market watchers are looking very closely on the language
rather than the rate hike," said OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan.
    "People will be looking very closely to see if there's any
forward guidance that will indicate if there will be a fourth
rate hike into the year-end." 
    U.S. monthly consumer inflation rose moderately in May,
suggesting the Fed could continue to gradually raise interest
rates this year.                           
    The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to announce
its decision on rates at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). 
    "We could see further weakness (in gold prices) heading into
the Fed meeting on Wednesday, as the dollar might rally going
into the policy statement," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir
said in a note.
    The dollar, which measures the greenback against a basket of
six major currencies, was up 0.2 percent at 110.55 yen       ,
after touching 110.68, its highest since May 23.       
    Gold is highly sensitive to U.S. interest rates, which lift
the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and boost
the dollar, in which it is priced.
    "Beyond the Fed, the ECB meeting tomorrow will also be
important. Both the meetings have come hand-in-hand in trying to
think about how gold prices will move," OCBC's Gan said.
    The European Central Bank (ECB) meets on Thursday, when it
could signal intentions to start unwinding its massive bond
purchasing programme.             
    The Bank of Japan's two-day monetary policy meeting also
begins Thursday. 
    The yellow metal is biased to drop sharply towards a range
of $1,263-$1,278 per ounce, as its consolidation within a wedge
is ending, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.         
    In other precious metals, silver        fell 0.2 percent to
$16.83 an ounce. It hit a seven-week high of $16.95 in the
previous session.
    Palladium        was nearly unchanged at $1,018.41.
    Platinum        was 0.5 percent lower at $889.80 per ounce,
after hitting a one-week low of $889.40 earlier in the session.

    
 (Reporting by Karen Rodrigues and Swati Verma in Bengaluru;
Editing by Joseph Radford and Biju Dwarakanath)
  
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