Investing.com - Gold prices rose to their best level in over eight months on Wednesday, as investors looked ahead to a key monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve.
Comex gold futures were at $1,310.40 a troy ounce by 8:35AM ET (13:35 GMT), up $1.55, or around 0.1%. They hit their highest level since May 14 at $1,314.55 earlier.
Meanwhile, spot gold was trading at $1,311.60 per ounce, little changed on the day.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will later hold what will be a closely-watched press conference 30 minutes after the release of the Fed's policy statement, as investors look for more signs of how patient the U.S. central bank will be before raising borrowing costs again.
Worries about a slowdown in the U.S. economy eased slightly earlier Thursday after payrolls provider ADP published a strong report on private-sector jobs growth for January. It also said December was the best month for new private jobs in nearly three years.
The Fed is not expected to take action on interest rates at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting at 2:00PM ET (19:00 GMT), keeping the key Fed Funds rate in a range between 2.25%-2.5%.
While policymakers have pointed to two increases in 2019, the market is betting the central bank may halt its rate hikes altogether as risks to the U.S. economy mount.
The market will also be looking for any hints that the Fed is closer to ending its balance-sheet runoff.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, held steady near a two-week low of 95.50.
Besides the Fed, market players will continue to monitor developments surrounding U.S.-China trade talks, Brexit and political turmoil in Venezuela.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported opposition Venezuelan lawmaker Jose Guerra as saying that the Venezuelan government was preparing to ship 20 tons of gold from its central bank reserves out of the country on a Russian-marked airplane.
That news comes days after the Bank of England, which holds some of Venezuela's official reserves in its vaults, refused a withdrawal request from the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Elsewhere in metals trading, silver futures rose 6.9 cents, or about 0.45%, at $15.90 a troy ounce.
-- Reuters contributed to this report