Gold has surged to a six-year high in 2019 Image Credit: Reuters

(Bloomberg) - Gold investors have gone into wait-and-see mode ahead of an expected interest rate reduction by the Federal Reserve later on Wednesday that will kick off a busy round of policy decisions from leading central banks.

Prices were confined to a narrow range near $1,500 an ounce after a two-day gain following the weekend’s strike against critical oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi defense ministry will hold a press conference on the assault that will show evidence of Iran’s involvement, state television reported.

Gold has surged to a six-year high in 2019 as slowing growth and the drag from the U.S.-China trade war prompted central banks to ease policy. The Fed delivered its first rate cut in more than a decade in July, casting that move as a “mid-cycle adjustment” . Investors are now waiting to see if policy makers pivot toward a more sustained run of reductions, potentially aiding bullion.

“Market expectations remain tilted towards a reduction in U.S. borrowing costs amid prolonged weakness in business investments and manufacturing data,” said Benjamin Lu, an analyst at Phillip Futures Pte in Singapore. “Global trade uncertainties, heightened geopolitical tensions along with subdued global growth will bolster bullion’s appeal.”

Gold was steady at $1,501.58 an ounce at 7:59 a.m. in London after climbing 0.7% on Monday and a further 0.2% on Tuesday. Prices hit $1,557.11 on Sept. 4, the highest since 2013. Silver fell 0.6% to $17.9048 an ounce.

After the Fed’s session, a slew of other top central bank meetings follow as the Bank Of England, Bank of Japan and Swiss National Bank all deliver decisions on Thursday. Last week, the European Central Bank eased policy.

Most investors expect that the Fed will pare borrowing costs by a quarter percentage point, matching the scale of the year’s initial cut. Citigroup Inc. has said U.S. rates will eventually be reduced to zero, sending bullion to a record.

Ahead of this week’s meeting, Fed traders jumped into U.S. money markets to inject cash to quell a spike in short-term rates. The central bank plans to return on Wednesday to offer another $75 billion of cash.

“Any mention of heightened global risks could see gold prices find further support,” Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. said in a note. Chairman Jerome Powell is expected “to emphasize that the Fed will do what it can to sustain the expansion,” it said.