PRECIOUS-Gold listless as investors strap in for Fed rate verdict


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      All eyes on Fed statement at 1800 GMT

      Fed seen hiking rates by 25 bps

      Hawkish Fed, rates repricing could undermine gold prices -

      UK inflation rate unexpectedly rises in Feb

 (Adds details, updates prices)
    By Kavya Guduru
       March 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices traded flat on
Wednesday as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the U.S.
Federal Reserve's interest rate decision and policy outlook.
    Spot gold  XAU=  was unchanged at $1,940.20 per ounce, as of
0747 GMT, after dropping 2% on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures  GCv1 
were also flat at $1,940.60.
    "Market developments remain fluid but as it stands, it does
appear that banking sector wounds are showing tentative signs of
recovery after the emergency backstops and assurances from
authorities ... gold has eased lower as safe-haven demand
dissipates," said OCBC FX strategist Christopher Wong.
    Bullion recently rallied as much as 10%, or by about $180,
to a one-year high on safe-haven demand after the collapse of
U.S.-based Silicon Valley Bank, which quickly ensnared lender
Credit Suisse. But prices retreated after the rescue of Credit
Suisse whetted risk appetite, although financial system
uncertainties remained.  MKTS/GLOB 
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told bankers on Tuesday
the U.S. banking system was stabilising, but further steps might
be needed "if smaller institutions suffer deposit runs that pose
the risk of contagion".
    Investor attention is now on the Fed's decision scheduled at
1800 GMT, followed by a press conference by Chair Jerome Powell.
The U.S. central bank is widely expected to increase rates by 25
basis points, according to the CME FedWatch tool. 
    "If we do get higher dots plot, then that represents a
still-hawkish Fed that is determined to fight inflation... a
potential hawkish repricing could undermine gold prices," OCBC's
Wong said.
    Bullion is seen as a hedge against inflation, but the
opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold rises when
interest rates are increased to bring down inflation.
    Data showed British consumer price inflation unexpectedly
rose to 10.4% in February, a day before the Bank of England
announces its latest decision on interest rates.
    Spot silver  XAG=  was 0.2% lower at $22.33 per ounce, while
platinum  XPT=  rose 0.5% to $973.57 and palladium  XPD=  added
0.5% at $1,395.20.

 (Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Aich, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Subhranshu Sahu)

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