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Gold holds steady after Fed leaves rates unchanged

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Gold prices held their levels Wednesday after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at its latest meeting.

U.S. gold futures rose 0.1 percent to near $1,212.6 an ounce.

As widely expected, the Federal Open Market Committee kept its benchmark overnight lending rate target at 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent. The Fed raised the target a quarter point, or 25 basis points, at its December meeting, just the second hike in more than 10 years.

Gold is highly exposed to interest rates, particularly in the United States, as higher rates lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets and boost the dollar, in which gold is priced.

Capital Economics expects rate hikes in the second half of the year, Gambarini said, which could hurt gold.

Gold gained more than 5 percent in January—its best month since June 2016—as the dollar suffered its worst start to the year in three decades, hurt by Trump's comment that every "other country lives on devaluation."

ETF Securities said it expects gold to end the year at $1,230 per ounce about 2.5 percent from Tuesday's close.

"Gold prices could rise 8 percent in the first half of the year, aided by a weaker dollar. However, the dollar strengthening in the second half of the year and subdued enthusiasm for the metal in the futures market could drive a sell-off."

The bullish view is underscored by some of Wall Street's largest fund managers betting on gold, wagering that Trump's governing style and upcoming elections in Europe will combine to create more stock market volatility and boost demand for the metal seen as a safe haven.

Spot silver rose 0.24 percent to $17.585 an ounce, after touching its highest in more than 11 weeks at $17.61.

Platinum rose 0.66 percent, at $1003.10 an ounce. Palladium jumped 1.49 percent at $764.

--CNBC.com's JeeYeon Park contributed to this report.