February 27, 2018 / 5:06 AM / in 6 months

PRECIOUS-Gold steady on softer dollar; investors await testimony from Fed's Powell

    * Focus on Powell's testimony due later on Tuesday
    * Spot gold may rise to $1,348/oz - technicals

 (Adds comments, updates prices)
    By Eileen Soreng
    Feb 27 (Reuters) - Gold prices were steady on Tuesday as the
dollar was little changed while investors awaited U.S. Federal
Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's first congressional testimony for
clues on the future pace of monetary tightening.
    Spot gold        was up 0.1 percent at $1,334.26 an ounce at
0752 GMT. 
    U.S. gold futures         were up 0.2 percent at $1,335.90
per ounce.
    The dollar index       , which measures the greenback
against a basket of major currencies, was down 0.1 percent at
89.723. The index has rebounded 1.7 percent since falling to a
three-year low of 88.25 on Feb. 16.         
    "The market is fairly quiet overall and is on a wait and see
mode ahead of the new Fed chairman's speech tonight," a Hong
Kong based trader said.
    "All eyes would be on interest rates and the U.S. dollar,"
the trader said.
    Powell's debut appearance is seen as critical for financial
markets at a time when many investors are nervous about the
Fed's policy normalisation following years of stimulus after the
financial crisis almost a decade ago.
    Many investors expect the Fed to raise interest rates three
to four times this year, if U.S. inflation starts to take off,
especially as growth is set to get another boost from the Trump
administration's tax cuts and spending plans. 
    "Investors will be keen to hear what Powell has to say
particularly over the balance sheet and his views on inflation,"
 ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said.
    While inflation worries could spur safe-haven gold buying,
rising interest rates would pressure the metal because bullion
pays no interest.
    "Initial support for the metal holds around $1,325-$1,330,
while resistance cuts in broadly between $1,340-$1,345," MKS
PAMP Group trader Sam Laughlin said in a note.
    Spot gold is expected to break a resistance at $1,339 per
ounce and rise more to the next resistance at $1,348, as
suggested by its wave pattern and a projection analysis,
according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.         
    Meanwhile, global shares held firm near three-week highs on
Tuesday as U.S. borrowing costs eased ahead of Powell's awaited
first congressional testimony later in the day.            
    SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.21 percent to
831.03 tonnes on Monday from 829.26 tonnes on Friday.
            
    Among other precious metals, silver        was down 0.2
percent at $16.63 an ounce.
    Palladium        was flat at $1,060.70 per ounce, while 
platinum        was down 0.1 percent at $998.40 per ounce.

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Vyas Mohan
and Christian Schmollinger)
  
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