June 19 (Reuters) - Gold traded almost steady on Wednesday as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision later in the day, while expectations of an improvement in trade relationship between the United States and China dented the metal’s appeal.
* Spot gold was steady at $1,345.28 as of 0130 GMT.
* U.S. gold futures were down 0.1% at $1,349.40 an ounce.
* U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he had spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping and that the two leaders’ teams would restart trade talks after a long lull in order to prepare for a meeting at the G20 summit later this month.
* All eyes are now on the U.S. Federal Reserve which is scheduled to release a statement at 1800 GMT on Wednesday, followed by a press conference by Chairman Jerome Powell.
* Trump on Tuesday kept up pressure on the Fed to lower interest rates, following a report that White House lawyers earlier this year explored whether they could legally strip Jerome Powell of the Fed chairmanship.
* The Fed is expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged at a policy meeting this week but possibly lay the groundwork for a rate cut later this year.
* The dollar held near a two-week high early on Wednesday ahead of the Fed’s closely-watched policy decision later in the day, supported by a surprisingly dovish European Central Bank and bearish eurozone economic data.
* The European Central Bank will need to ease policy again, possibly through new rate cuts or asset purchases, if inflation doesn’t head back to its target, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Tuesday.
* Comments from Draghi weighed on U.S. Treasury yields with U.S. benchmark 10-year yields falling to their lowest since early September 2017, while 30-year yields dropped to their weakest level since late October 2016.
* Asian share markets jumped on Wednesday as investors dared to hope the Federal Reserve would follow the lead of the European Central Bank and open the door to future rate cuts at its policy meeting later in the day.
* 0830 UK CPI MM YY May
* 0830 UK RPI YY May
* 1800 US Federal Open Market Committee to announce its decision on interest rates followed by statement
* 1830 US Federal Reserve chairperson to hold a news conference (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)