PRECIOUS-Gold firm as rising risk appetite offsets Fed pause views

* SPDR Gold holdings rise 1.5 pct on Friday

* Market awaits Plan B on Brexit from British PM May

* Asia shares inch up after Wall Street rally last week

By Sethuraman N R

Jan 21 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Monday asexpectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will pause itsmulti-year interest rate hike cycle, were offset by a recoveryin investor appetite for risk.

Spot gold XAU= was trading up 0.1 percent at $1,282.31 perounce by 0306 GMT, while U.S. gold futures GCv1 were steady at$1,282 per ounce.

"Dovish signals (from the Fed) have kept dollar strength incheck, helping gold. But on the other hand, we have seen themeasing bearish sentiments in equity markets," said Benjamin Lu,analyst at Phillip Futures, Singapore.

Less than two weeks ahead of the U.S. central bank's firstpolicy meeting of the new year, Federal Reserve officials haveleft little doubt that they want to stop raising interest rates- at least for a while. nL1N1ZI1FW]

Slower global growth, a stock meltdown last quarter, and apartial U.S. government shutdown that threatens consumerconfidence and spending have many in the Fed worried.

"We have seen very positive conditions in U.S. equities andthe dollar has also seen a series of positive trades. All thesecompeting influences have capped the safe-haven appeal," Lusaid, adding that gold was facing strong technical resistance at$1,300 levels.

Gold has risen more than 10 percent since touching1-1/2-year lows in mid August, mainly due to tumultuous equitymarkets and a softer dollar.

Asian markets were steady on Monday, after Wall Streetposted a fourth straight week of gains last week.

"On the longer run, we are still very positive on gold on asynchronised slowdown in global economic conditions andgeopolitical uncertainties," Lu said.

Data on Monday showed the Chinese economy slowed at the endof last year, underlining the urgent need for more stimulus asBeijing wrestles with the United States over trade. MKTS/GLOB

Investors are also waiting to hear British Prime MinisterTheresa May's 'Plan B' for Brexit, which is due to be presentedto parliament later on Monday, after her deal was rejected bylawmakers last week.

Reflecting investor appetite for gold, holdings of SPDR GoldGLD , the largest gold based exchange traded fund, rose 1.5percent on Friday to 809.76 tonnes.

Meanwhile, spot palladium XPD= , which hit a record high of$1,434.50 last week, was up 0.4 percent at $1,382 on Monday.

"Palladium has eased lower as investors took profits afterthe recent strong run," ANZ analysts said in a note.

Palladium has risen 9.5 percent so far this month on supplyconcerns in South Africa and Russia, which are keeping themarket tight amid strong demand, the note said.

Spot silver XAG= was steady at $15.33, while spot platinum XPT= fell 2.3 percent to $796. (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by JosephRadford and Richard Pullin) ((; (Within U.S.1-651-848-5832, Outside U.S. +91 8067496031); Reuters

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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