October 24, 2019 / 11:28 AM / 24 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold muted as investors eye ECB meet; platinum holds above $900

* Platinum hits highest since Sept. 30

* SPDR Gold Trust holdings eased on Wednesday

* GRAPHIC-Plat/palladium ratio: tmsnrt.rs/1QjSZAC (Adds comment, details, updates prices)

By Eileen Soreng

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Gold held in a narrow range on Thursday as investors eyed a European Central Bank meeting to gauge its stance on monetary policy, while platinum was perched above $900 an ounce after jumping as much as 3% in the previous session.

Spot gold fell 0.1% to $1,490.16 per ounce as of 1057 GMT. U.S. gold futures dipped 0.2% to $1,492.70.

“We’re in a holding pattern right now, waiting to see what happens with the ECB, and the U.S. Federal Reserve next week ... There aren’t many expectations for any change in (ECB) policy, but there might be some forward guidance and the market is waiting on that,” ING analyst Warren Patterson said.

The ECB is all but certain not to make any policy change on Thursday, six weeks after unveiling a package including new asset purchases worth 20 billion euros ($22 billion) a month, a rate cut and a pledge to open the money taps further if needed.

Euro zone business activity stagnated in October as demand withered, according to a survey published on Thursday.

“Global growth continues to slow down and rates are going to continue to fall and this basically strengthens the case for having gold as a diversifier in investor portfolios,” UBS strategist Joni Teves said.

“Gold could trade quite comfortably over $1,600 over the next 12 months.”

Investors also await the U.S. Fed’s meeting on Oct. 29 and 30, when it is expected to cut its benchmark interest rate.

Traders sought clarity on Brexit after the European Union delayed a decision on granting Britain an extension.

Elsewhere, platinum was down 0.1% at $914.33 per ounce, after climbing to its highest in more than three weeks at $925.76 earlier in the session. It had risen as much as 3% on Wednesday.

Platinum’s move could in part have been driven by a report that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has suggested new negotiations with the EU could be an alternative to imposing tariffs on automotive imports next month, said Samson Li, a Hong Kong-based precious metals analyst at Refinitiv GFMS.

Platinum and palladium are primarily used by automakers in catalytic converters.

“Platinum is also expected to benefit from positive spillovers from gold. However, its sizeable and rising above-ground stocks will remain a key headwind over the rest of 2019 and in 2020,” Metals Focus said in a weekly note.

Palladium, which hit a record high of $1,783.21 last week, was steady at $1,741.78.

Silver fell 0.1% to $17.53 per ounce. ($1 = 0.8988 euros) (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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