September 26, 2018 / 12:26 PM / 21 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices slip as dollar firms ahead of Fed rate decision

* Fed statement expected at 1800 GMT

* Expected to raise interest rates

* Investors seek clues on policy outlook

* Dollar strengthens slightly

* Technical indicators suggest gold to fall (Updates prices)

By Peter Hobson

LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell on Wednesday as the dollar strengthened ahead of the results of a Federal Reserve meeting later in the day that is expected to raise U.S. interest rates and hint at the outlook for future rate increases.

Gold is sensitive to higher interest rates because they tend to boost the dollar, making gold more expensive for buyers with other currencies.

They also push up U.S. bond yields, reducing the attraction of non-yielding bullion.

A Fed rate hike - the third this year - in an announcement at 1800 GMT is anticipated and is therefore unlikely to shift gold prices, said FOREX.com analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

Markets will instead be looking to the Fed's economic and interest rate projections and a news conference by Chairman Jerome Powell for something to move gold from its recent trading range of $1,190-$1,210 an ounce.

"If the Fed appears more dovish than expected we may see a break-out for gold," Razaqzada said, adding that without a surprise, gold was unlikely to move much.

"If we break (technical resistance at) $1,205-$1,215, at a minimum we could go to $1,240," he said.

Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,194.87 an ounce at 1406 GMT, remaining close to a 19-month low of $1,159.96 reached last month.

U.S. gold futures were also 0.5 percent lower at $1,199.10 an ounce.

Gold has fallen more than 12 percent from an April high as a vibrant U.S. economy, expectations of higher U.S. interest rates and fears of a global trade war have caused the dollar to rally.

Investors looking for a safe place to park assets have preferred the U.S. currency to bullion, undermining gold's traditional role as a safe haven, while speculators have ramped up bets that gold prices will fall.

The greenback was slightly stronger on Wednesday against a basket of major currencies and is up more than 5 percent since April.

Analysts at Commerzbank said gold was stuck beneath technical resistance at its 55-day moving average around $1,208 and its 4-month downtrend at $1,220.

They said prices would likely move lower and that their long-term outlook had become more negative since gold broke below its 2005-2018 uptrend line, now around $1,215.

In other precious metals, silver was down 0.3 percent at $14.38 an ounce after touching a three-week high on Tuesday.

Platinum had gained 0.1 percent to $823.30 an ounce and palladium was 0.2 percent higher at $1,063.47 an ounce, near an 8-month high of $1,068.50 reached in the previous session. (Additional reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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