COMODOTIES-GOLD - Gold prices inched a bit higher on Tuesday, but remained within sight of their lowest level in around three weeks as investors looked ahead to a Federal Reserve policy meeting for any new insight on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike and clues on how the central bank plans to pare back its balance sheet.

Comex gold futures were at $1,311.53 a troy ounce by 2:55AM ET (0655GMT), up less than $1.00. It fell to its lowest since Aug. 31 at $1,308.10 a day earlier.

The yellow metal suffered its fifth decline in six sessions on Monday, as gains in the U.S. dollar and record highs for benchmark U.S. stock indexes pushed prices lower.

The Fed is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, but is likely to announce a plan to start shrinking its massive $4.5 trillion balance sheet in an effort to normalize policy.

Markets will be looking for further clues on the timing of the next rate hike, with around 60% of market players expecting a move by December, according to's Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

Besides the Fed, North Korea's nuclear ambitions will be center stage when U.S. President Donald Trump addresses world leaders at the United Nations at 10:30AM ET (1430GMT) on Tuesday.

Senior White House officials said Trump would also target Iran's nuclear program, single out Venezuela for criticism and refer to Islamist militants as "losers," in his first appearance in the green-marbled U.N. General Assembly hall.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures inched up 4.6 cents, or about 0.3%, to $17.20 a troy ounce.

Among other precious metals, platinum held steady at $961.55, while palladium shed 0.2% to $928.20 an ounce.