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PRECIOUS-Gold rangebound as markets await Fed minutes for stimulus clues

Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 | 7:41 PM ET

SINGAPORE, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Gold was trading in a tight range on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of the minutes of a Federal Reserve policy meeting later in the session for clues on when the bank will trim its stimulus. A lack of major U.S. economic data and lacklustre physical demand also prevented investors from taking big positions.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was largely unchanged at $1,274.06 an ounce by 0023 GMT.

* Platinum and palladium were steady following gains on Tuesday after South African utility Eskom declared a power emergency on Tuesday, a move that could reduce output at mines and smelters.

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday the Fed will maintain ultra-easy U.S. monetary policy for as long as needed and will only begin to taper bond buying once it is assured that labour market improvements would continue.

* Bernanke said that while the economy had made significant progress, it was still far from where officials wanted it to be.

* The Fed may need to wait until next year, possibly until March, before beginning to wind down its massive bond-purchase program, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Tuesday.

* Minutes of the October 29-30 Fed meeting are due to be released later on Wednesday, with investors looking for detail of Fed discussions on the timing of any tapering.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 1.50 tonnes to 863.01 tonnes on Tuesday.

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MARKET NEWS

* Pressure on the yen showed no signs of letting up on Wednesday, with the euro climbing to a four-year peak and the dollar holding onto overnight gains even after more dovish comments from top Fed officials.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0700 Germany Producer prices 1200 U.S. Weekly mortgage market index 1330 U.S. Retail sales 1330 U.S. Consumer inflation 1500 U.S. Existing home sales 1900 FOMC releases minutes from Oct. 29-30 meeting

PRICES AT 0023 GMT

Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Spot gold 1274.06 -0.58 -0.05 -23.92 Spot silver 20.34 0.02 0.1 -32.83 Spot platinum 1411.24 -0.56 -0.04 -8.06 Spot palladium 717.75 -0.25 -0.03 3.72 Comex gold Dec3 1273.6 0.1 0.01 -24 Comex silver Dec3 20.35 0.016 0.08 -32.86 Euro 1.3554 DXY 80.588

COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin)