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PRECIOUS-Gold prices rise ahead of U.S. Fed policy decision

    * Fed's policy decision due at 2 p.m. EDT/1800 GMT
    * U.S. consumer spending slowed in August
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
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 (Updates prices)
    By Sumita Layek
    Sept 16 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Wednesday in the run-up to
a U.S. Federal Reserve policy decision, which is expected to
reiterate a dovish monetary policy stance to support the
economy's recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
    Spot gold        rose 0.3% to $1,960.60 per ounce at 1:42
p.m. EDT (1742 GMT), after hitting its highest since Sept. 2 at
$1,973.16.
    U.S. gold futures        settled up 0.2% to $1,970.50.
    "The expectations are that the Fed is going to leave the
interest rates low for a very extended period of time, and
inflation numbers to run over their 2% target rate," said David
Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.
    The Fed policy decision is due at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). The
meeting is its first since the central bank took a more relaxed
stance on inflation last month. The announcement will be
followed by a news conference by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.
    Meanwhile, U.S. consumer spending slowed in August, pointing
to a stall in the economic recovery from effects of the
coronavirus.             
    "The weaker economic data supports the idea that the Fed
will remain accommodative, that there will be another stimulus
put in place by the U.S. Congress; these are the main pillars of
support for gold," Meger said.
    Lower interest rates tend to weigh on bond yields and the
dollar, bolstering the appeal of non-yielding gold.             
    "The precious metals market awaits the latest hurdle for a
refreshed rally to be removed," TD Securities said in a note.
    "Officials are set to send a dovish signal through the
wording on QE (Quantitative Easing), the extension of the dot
plot through 2023, and the Chairman's press conference."
    Elsewhere, silver        eased 0.2% to $27.19 per ounce,
platinum        fell 1.5% to $963.59 and palladium       
slipped 1% to $2,385.91.

 (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru
Editing by Paul Simao and Tom Brown)
  
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