Gold eased slightly on Wednesday but stayed near a more than five-month peak scaled earlier in the session on increasing speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve could signal a slower pace of interest rate hikes next year.
After gaining for the last two sessions, gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,248.11 per ounce at 11:01 GMT. The metal had risen to its highest since July 11 at $1,251.39 earlier.
U.S. gold futures eased 0.1 percent to $1,251.90 per ounce.
Markets are preparing for the Federal Reserve rate decision at 1900 GMT after its final two-day policy meeting of the year.
The U.S. central bank may signal an earlier end to its monetary tightening in the face of financial market volatility and rising recession fears.
Expectations of lower interest rates tend to support gold, as they reduce the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding bullion and put pressure on the greenback.
Gold has risen nearly 8 percent from 19-month lows hit in mid-August and is on track for its best quarter since March 2017.