October 30, 2019 / 12:22 PM / 21 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold firms as investors await Fed verdict

* U.S. Fed policy statement due at 1800 GMT

* European shares edge lower (Updates prices)

By Sumita Layek

Oct 30 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Wednesday, having touched a one-week low in the previous session, as investors awaited a decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve on a widely expected rate cut.

Spot gold was up 0.4% at $1,493.94 an ounce by 1207 GMT. U.S. gold futures edged 0.3% higher to $1,495.40.

The U.S. central bank is set to share the statement of a two-day monetary policy meeting at 1800 GMT. Investors expect the Fed to lower rates by a quarter of a percentage point for a third time this year.

“If the Fed signals a hawkish cut, that could spell more dollar strength in the near term and could suppress gold prices,” said FXTM market analyst Han Tan.

“However, if Fed Chair Jerome Powell still has cognisance of the downside risks to the U.S. economy, of the economic headwinds, and he believes the door is wide open for more rate cuts going to 2020, then you could see some dollar weakness in the near term.”

A weaker greenback makes dollar-denominated gold cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Supporting gold, a rally in global shares stalled on worries that a Phase 1 trade deal between the United States and China could be delayed, after a U.S. administration official said an agreement might not be completed in time for signing in Chile next month.

“The demand for bullion will remain intact because the ‘Phase 1’ trade deal doesn’t dismantle existing tariffs ... so, given the deteriorating economic conditions and the swelling concerns over the global economic outlook, safe-haven assets like gold will remain supported going into 2020,” said FXTM’S Tan.

Data released on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer confidence fell for a third straight month in October, further helping gold.

Technically, “we would have a first bearish signal only below $1,480, while a rebound above $1,500 could open space for another recovery to $1,520”, ActivTrades’ chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said in a note.

“As long as prices can remain above $1,460-$1,470, the main trend remains positive, despite the recent weakness,” he added.

Investors also kept a close watch on Brexit developments, with Britain set to hold a December election after Prime Minister Boris Johnson won approval from parliament for an early ballot.

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.8% to $17.94 an ounce, platinum was up 0.2% at $922.02 and palladium gained 0.4% to $1,788.26. (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman)

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