Gold prices edged down on Wednesday as the U.S. dollar steadied, while fears abated about a bigger fallout from the global banking sector crisis after efforts by regulators to shore up investor confidence.
* Spot gold was trading 0.2% lower at $1,970.79 per ounce, as of 0050 GMT, after rising 1% on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures eased 0.1% to $1,972.30.
* The dollar index was 0.1% higher, making bullion more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.
* The recent failures of mid-size U.S. lenders show the need for more robust risk management at banks and fintechs, along with improved regulation, the head of the top consumer financial watchdog agency said on Tuesday.
* As stress in the banking sector appears to subside, markets are now pricing in a 48% chance of the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates by 25 basis points in May, according to the CME FedWatch tool.
* Bullion is seen as a hedge against inflation, but the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold rises when interest rates are increased to bring down inflation.
* U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly increased in March, but Americans are becoming a bit anxious about the labor market, a survey showed on Tuesday.
* The U.S. trade deficit in goods widened modestly by 0.6% to $91.6 billion in February as exports declined, potentially setting up trade to be a small drag on economic growth in the first quarter.
* Spot silver rose 0.3% to $23.33 per ounce, while platinum was flat at $962.96 and palladium was also listless at $1,419.39.
No major data/events expected on Wednesday, March 29 (Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)