June 18, 2019 / 10:28 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold approaches 14-month highs on dovish U.S. Fed expectations

* Fed due to release its latest statement on Wednesday

* Gold priced in euros jumps to its highest since April 2017

* Palladium hits 12-week high (Adds comments, details, updates prices)

By Eileen Soreng

June 18 (Reuters) - Gold on Tuesday climbed more than 1% to a near 14-month high, supported by expectations of dovish statements from the U.S. Federal Reserve and as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s comments indicated the possibility of rate cuts.

Lower interest rates decrease the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Spot gold was up about 1% at $1,352.23 per ounce at 1257 GMT. Last week, prices had hit a high of $1,358.34, a peak since April 11.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.8% at $1,353.7 an ounce.

“There is some positioning ahead of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting ... Everyone is waiting to see how dovish Fed’s going to be and if there is any sort of signalling of cuts on the way to the interest rates,” ING analyst Warren Patterson said.

The Fed’s policy-setting committee is due to release its latest statement and economic projections at on Wednesday after the end of a two-day meeting.

The U.S. central bank is expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged this time but possibly lay the groundwork for a rate cut later this year. Markets are almost fully pricing in a 25-basis-point rate cut for July.

Meanwhile, Draghi on Tuesday said the ECB will ease policy again if inflation fails to accelerate, signalling one of the biggest policy reversals of his eight-year tenure.

Gold priced in euros also jumped to its highest level since April 2017.

The fact that investors remain concerned over trade tensions impacting global growth and that the major central banks across the world are adopting a more dovish stance, the environment looks good for gold to continue shining, said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM.

Gold has gained more than 6% since touching a 2019 low of $1,265.85 in early May.

“The first key level of interest this week will be $1,350, should we see a solid weekly close above this level gold has the potential to actually attack at least $1,400 by the end of 2019,” Otunuga added.

Elsewhere, silver was up 1% at $14.98 per ounce.

Palladium climbed 2.5% to $1,486.70 per ounce, having hit a high since March 27 at $1,487.22 earlier in the session.

Platinum rose 1.2% to $801.11 an ounce after falling to its lowest since May 31 at $786 earlier in the session. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans and Louise Heavens)

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