* Gold steadies after choppy session on Tuesday
* Biggest gold ETF reports second straight daily outflow
(Updates prices; adds comment, Fed announcement)
By Marcy Nicholson and Jan Harvey
NEW YORK/LONDON, Dec 17 Gold turned lower on
Wednesday, after briefly climbing above $1,200 per ounce
following the U.S. Federal Reserve's signal that it remained on
track to raise interest rates in 2015.
The Fed offered a strong message that it was on track to
raise interest rates sometime next year, altering a pledge to
keep them near zero for a "considerable time" in a show of
confidence in the U.S. economy.
Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,191.45 by 2:46
p.m. EST (1946 GMT). On Tuesday, the metal's trading was
volatile, hitting a session high above $1,221 then a one-week
low of $1,188.41 before ending marginally firmer.
"It's open to a lot of interpretation as far as gold is
concerned," said James Steel, chief metals analyst for HSBC
Securities in New York, referring to the Fed's statement.
"I think the gold market will probably look to the foreign
exchange markets and if the dollar rally is running into
headwinds, we get a slightly stronger euro out of this and then
that's positive for gold."
Investors were also eyeing Russia after the rouble plunged
more than 11 percent against the dollar on Tuesday despite a
hefty interest rate hike.
U.S. gold for February delivery inched up 0.02
percent to settle at $1,194.50 an ounce.
Russia's financial crisis initially weighed on stocks on
Wednesday, but European shares staged a late recovery following
the bounce higher in energy and as new signs of economic
stimulus measures from the European Central Bank lifted shares.
Barnabas Gan, analyst at OCBC Bank, said the market was
watching whether Russia would sell its gold holdings to finance
spending: "If that happens, we would see gold taking another
step down, possibly closer to our year-end forecast of $1,150."
Demand for physical gold in Asia was lackluster overnight as
traders awaited direction from the Fed, precious metals house
MKS said in a note.
Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded
fund, which last week posted their biggest weekly rise since
mid-July, saw a second consecutive daily outflow on Tuesday, of
Other precious metals were mixed with spot silver
climbing 0.8 percent to $15.79 an ounce and platinum up
0.04 percent at $1,189.32 an ounce. Palladium was down
0.7 percent at $773.20 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Singapore;
Editing by Dale Hudson, David Evans, David Clarke and Chizu