* Gold tries to stand steady above 200-day moving average * Asia physical gold buying slow * Spot gold to hover around $1,662 before rising again -technicals * Coming up: Federal Open Market Committee policy decision; 1915 GMT (Adds comment; updates prices) By Rujun Shen SINGAPORE, Jan 30 Gold fought to hold steady above a key technical level on Wednesday, after snapping a four-day slide in the previous session on hopes the U.S. Federal Reserve would opt to continue with monetary stimulus. The central bank is expected to confirm in a statement at 1915 GMT that it will keep up $85 billion in monthly bond buying until unemployment rates drop significantly, although officials have shown concern over side effects from such measures. Investors are also waiting for nonfarm payrolls data on Friday for a close look at the U.S. labour market. Economists surveyed by Reuters expect steady hiring from employers in January, helping unemployment to stand unchanged from a month earlier at 7.8 percent. Recent data showing signs of a steady economic recovery has depressed sentiment towards gold, a safe haven popular in times of economic and political distress. "In the short term, gold will struggle because the U.S. data will continue to be pretty good," said Jeremy Friesen, commodity strategist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong. But he added that the global inflation outlook is firming due to ultra-loose monetary policies adopted by central banks in key economies, which will benefit gold as an inflation hedge. "Growth looks better so the market is shifting out of risky low-yield asset or zero-yield assets to equities, but inflation concerns are opposing that and may be sustaining some interest in gold." Rising oil prices may also stoke worries about inflation. Benchmark Brent crude matched a more than three-month high hit the session before. Spot gold had edged up 0.2 percent to $1,666.44 an ounce by 0619 GMT. It rose above the key 200-day moving average in the previous session, which stood just below $1,663. U.S. gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,666. Reuters market analyst Wang Tao said that technical analysis suggested spot gold may hover around $1,662 an ounce for one session or retrace moderately before climbing again towards $1,669. Purchases in Asia's physical market were slow, as buyers that beefed up their inventories earlier in the month moved to the sidelines, waiting for clear direction in prices. "We see some buying from Shanghai, but overall the volume is small," said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals in Hong Kong. "There is no direction and gold will remain in a range between $1,620 and $1,700." A recent rise in U.S. Treasury yields helped weigh on gold sentiment as investors unwind their safe-haven buying, Fung added. In other metals, spot platinum rose 0.4 percent to $1,682.24, headed for a second straight session of gains, shrugging off news that Anglo American Platinum, the world's top platinum producer, has delayed job cuts to allow time for talks with the South African government and unions. Spot silver was flat at $31.38. India's silver jewellery exports are expected to jump up to 30 percent this year as world demand picks up, said India's Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council. Precious metals prices 0619 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1666.44 2.99 +0.18 -0.48 Spot Silver 31.38 0.00 +0.00 3.63 Spot Platinum 1682.24 7.00 +0.42 9.59 Spot Palladium 749.85 2.38 +0.32 8.36 COMEX GOLD FEB3 1666.00 5.20 +0.31 -0.58 4138 COMEX SILVER MAR3 31.41 0.22 +0.71 3.89 3490 Euro/Dollar 1.3482 Dollar/Yen 90.91 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Editing by Joseph Radford)
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