PRECIOUS-Gold eases off 8-month peak as investors brace for Fed

Using a smartphone to calculate data

* Fed policy statement due on Wednesday at 1900 GMT

* SPDR Gold holdings up 4.6 pct this month

* Markets also eye U.S.-China trade talks (New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments)

By Arijit Bose

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Gold inched lower on Wednesday but stayedclose to its highest in more than eight months as the dollarticked up on better-than-expected U.S. private-sector jobs dataand investors waited to hear about the Federal Reserve'sdecision on monetary policy.

Spot gold XAU= eased 0.1 percent at $1,310.61 per ounce at10:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT). The session high of $1,315.93 was itshighest since May 14, 2018. U.S. gold futures GCcv1 rose 0.1percent to $1,309.80.

Payrolls processor ADP reported that the U.S. private sectoradded 213,000 jobs in January, beating forecasts for 178,000 newjobs. The dollar .DXY held modest gains after thereport.

"Better than expected ADP data is pressuring gold. But themetal is still hanging on despite that," said Bob Haberkorn,senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

The Fed is widely expected to hold interest rates steadyafter a partial government shutdown impeded key data releases.

"People are also anticipating an easier statement to comeout of the Fed," Haberkorn said, adding that market players willbe "waiting to see if today's statement is more dovish than whatthe Fed had been saying lately."

"Although the dollar continues to benefit from safe-havenflows, buying sentiment (for the currency) is seen taking a hitif the Fed sounds more dovish than expected," Lukman Otunuga,Research Analyst at FXTM said in a note.

Last year, the dollar overtook gold to emerge as investors'favoured hedge against global economic and politicaluncertainty, but analystgs have said gold is likely to be thepreferred safe haven this year.

Overall risk sentiment is also being tested by concerns thatWashington's pursual of a criminal case against Chinese companyHuawei and its chief financial officer could hurt trade talksbetween the world's two biggest economies.

China's Vice Premier Liu He is due to meet U.S. TradeRepresentative Robert Lighthizer later in the day.

Underscoring investor interest in gold, holdings of SPDRGold TrustGLD , the world's largest gold-backedexchange-traded fund, rose 1 percent to 823.87 tonnes onTuesday, their highest since June. GOL/ETF

SPDR gold holdings have climbed 4.6 percent so far thismonth, the biggest monthly gain since September 2017.

Silver XAG= gained 0.4 percent to $15.90 per ounce. Itssession high of $15.98 was the highest since July 2018.

Palladium XPD= fell 0.1 percent to $1,344, while platinum XPT= was steady at $809.50.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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