×

PRECIOUS-Gold firm ahead of U.S. consumer data

* Spot gold neutral in $1,270-$1,286/oz range- technicals

* Palladium recovers from Tuesday's two-week lows

* GRAPHIC-2017 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

(Updates prices, adds quotes) Nov 15 (Reuters) - Gold prices firmed on Wednesday as investors awaited the October consumer inflation data from the United States for potential hints on the Federal Reserve's monetary tightening policy.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,281.73 per ounce

at 0351 GMT. On Tuesday, gold touched $1,270.56, its lowest since Nov. 6, before recovering to close about 0.2 percent higher.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery slipped 0.1

percent to $1,281.80. "Gold is still stuck in a tight range as traders are waiting for additional signals before taking any view," ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said. "This (U.S. consumer inflation data) is one of the most important datas, which could dictate sentiment leading into the next Fed meeting. Obviously, a rise in inflation is what the market is looking for... but for now it is taking a cautious approach," Hynes added. The Federal Reserve should keep its benchmark interest rate at current levels until there is an upswing in inflation, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Tuesday. One of the newest Fed policymakers, Raphael Bostic, said he still backs a December interest-rate hike and that he would need to see further weakness in U.S. inflation and local signs of economic weakness to cause him to shelve expectations for gradual policy tightening. Higher interest rates tend to boost the dollar and push bond yields up, putting pressure on gold prices by increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. Spot gold looks neutral in a range of $1,270-$1,286 per ounce, and an escape could suggest a direction, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. "A number of other markets have been similarly range-bound," INTL FCStone Edward Meir said in a note. "We suspect traders have moved to the sidelines as they wait to see what happens to the tax bill where expectations for its passage have in turn led to significant strengthening in both the dollar and U.S. equity markets." U.S. Senate Republicans on Tuesday linked repealing a key component of Obamacare to their ambitious tax-cut plan, raising new political risks and uncertainties for the tax measure that financial markets have been monitoring closely for months.

The dollar index , which tracks the U.S. currency

against a basket of six major rivals, held steady at 93.802.

In other precious metals, silver gained 0.2 percent to $17.045 per ounce, while platinum was up 0.3 percent

at $928.

Palladium , which touched a two-week low of $974.97 an

ounce in the previous session, edged 0.2 percent higher at $987.75 an ounce.

(Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)