Gold prices were little changed in early Asian trading on Wednesday, as investors refrained from taking big bets ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate-hike decision due later in the day.
* Spot gold was almost flat at $1,927.42 per ounce, as of 0032 GMT. U.S. gold futures were down 0.2% at $1,941.90.
* The Fed‘s policy decision is due at 1900 GMT, followed by a press conference from Chair Jerome Powell at 1930 GMT. The U.S. central bank is widely expected to scale back rate hikes to 25 basis points (bps) from 50 bps in December.
* Lower interest rates tend to be beneficial for bullion, decreasing the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding asset.
* U.S. labour costs increased at their slowest pace in a year in the fourth quarter as wage growth slowed.
* India‘s gold consumption in 2022 fell 3% from a year earlier, as a rally in local prices to near-record highs curtailed bullion demand during the key December quarter, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Tuesday. * Spot silver lost 0.1% to $23.67 per ounce, platinum dropped 0.3% to $1,008.57 and palladium dipped 0.2% to $1,645.75.
* Analysts have cut their palladium price forecasts and raised platinum price estimates as electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles disrupt the auto industry on which both metals rely for demand, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.