May 1, 2019 / 3:48 AM / 6 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices dip on firm equities, focus shifts to Fed decision

* U.S. central bank to announce interest rate decision at 1800 GMT

* Most Asian financial markets closed for public holiday

* Trump, Democrats agree on $2 trillion infrastructure spending (Updates prices)

By Arijit Bose

May 1 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Wednesday on overnight gains in U.S. equities, with a May Day lull gripping most Asian markets ahead of a closely monitored Federal Reserve decision on the outlook for U.S. interest rates.

Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,278.92 per ounce at 0630 GMT, while U.S. gold futures fell 0.4 percent to $1,280.70 an ounce.

Having been pressured earlier by slightly downcast findings from Chinese business surveys, global shares edged up on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump agreed with Democratic leaders to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure.

Potentially dulling appetite for gold as a safe-haven asset, China and the United States began their latest talks in Beijing on Wednesday aimed at ending a bitter trade war.

“There is no need for inflation hedges in the gold market (given the strength in equity markets and economic data),” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist, CMC Markets.

“However, the pulling back of the U.S. dollar from recent highs over the last few sessions has been broadly supportive of gold.”

The euro zone reported stronger-than-expected economic growth for the first quarter, easing some pessimism over the euro and jolting the economic bloc’s common currency higher against the dollar on Tuesday.

Many Asia financial markets are shut for a May Day holiday on Wednesday.

Most market players are looking to the culmination of a two-day meeting by the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which will likely determine the path of U.S. interest rates, at least for this year.

“There has been some speculation that the recent strong GDP and employment data in the U.S. might see the Fed signal a more hawkish stance. While I do expect the Fed to acknowledge the strong numbers, I don’t think they’ll shift their stance at all,” CMC Markets’ McCarthy added.

Elsewhere, silver fell 0.4 percent to $14.88 per ounce, while platinum prices dropped 0.6 percent to $880.75.

Palladium declined 0.9 percent to $1,375.55 an ounce. (Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Joseph Radford)

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