* Bullion traders are not optimistic of a sustained rally in prices as the Fed is widely expected to raise U.S. rates for the first time in nearly a decade at its next policy meet on Dec. 15-16.
* Higher rates are expected to dent demand for non-interest-paying gold, which has already lost 9 percent of its value this year in anticipation of the rate hike.
* Investors are boosting bets gold will soon drop to $1,000 an ounce, options data show, ahead of next week's Fed meeting.
* A slide in commodity prices, particularly crude oil, is also weighing on gold. Crude has fallen to its lowest in nearly seven years as OPEC continues to pump near-record amounts of oil to defend market share. [O/R]
* Weakness in oil could trigger fears of deflation, a bearish factor for gold, which is often used as a hedge against oil-led inflation.
* Stock markets worldwide slipped on Tuesday, weighed down by weak China trade figures.
* The currencies of major commodity producers such as Australia and Canada nursed hefty losses early on Wednesday after suffering big falls in the past two days from a selloff in oil and bulk commodities.