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Spot gold prices lower after verdict

AP

Spot gold prices were little changed on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve signaled that it would remain patient when it comes raising interest rates.

In a statement after its latest policy meeting, the Fed made clear that no rate increase is imminent. Chair Janet Yellen said after last month's meeting that by saying it would be "patient," the Fed was signaling there would be no rate increase for at least two meetings.

The Fed's statement Wednesday said the factors holding inflation below its 2 percent target rate have intensified since its last meeting in December. Inflation has stayed ultra-low partly because of a plunge in energy prices and a steadily strengthening dollar.

The Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to release a statement at the end of its two-day policy meeting later on Wednesday and a dovish bias could support a non-interest bearing asset such as gold.

`The market has more or less priced in a rate hike this year so that is status quo and if the Fed statement surprises ...more on the dovish side and rate hike expectations are pushed back into the future, then gold could find some more support,'' Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said.

``If the Fed does not deliver any surprise at all, the impact on the gold price will be neutral ...and then the focus will turn to the U.S. data next week, mostly on wage inflation.''

Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,287.20 an ounce by 1507 GMT, trading in an $8 range. It hit a five-month high of $1,306.20 last week, before retreating on stronger risk appetite after the European Central Bank announced liquidity measures.

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U.S. gold futures were down $4.70 at $1,287.00 an ounce.

The dollar rose 0.4 percent against a basket of currencies, having received a slight boost from a surprise monetary easing by Singapore.

It fell on Tuesday when U.S. data showed durable goods orders unexpectedly fell in December and business investment dropped for a fourth straight month.

With the United States readying for its first rate hike in nearly a decade, gold prices are forecast to fall for a third year in a row in 2015, a Reuters poll showed.

In the near term, gold is unlikely to fall below $1,250 because of buying interest from the Chinese ahead of the Lunar New Year next month, said Howie Lee, an investment analyst at Phillip Futures.

AP contributed to this report.