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PRECIOUS-Gold steadies off 10-month peak as Fed minutes support dollar
Published at 21/02/2019 at 08:09

(Updates prices)

* SPDR gold holdings gain for the first time since end-Jan

* Gold may retrace into $1,321-$1,331 range -technicals

* Palladium trading near record-high

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Gold was trading below the previous session's 10-month peak on Thursday as the dollar gained after minutes from the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting rekindled expectations of another rate hike this year.

Investors were also keeping a close eye on talks to end a trade dispute between China and the United States.

Spot gold was steady at $1,338.76 per ounce as of 0753 GMT, having touched $1,346.73 per ounce in the previous session, its highest level since April 19.

U.S. gold futures were down 0.5 percent at $1,341.80 an ounce.

"There are both technical and fundamental reasons for this pull back in gold prices. It is under some technical selling pressure at the moment," said Margaret Yang, market analyst with CMC Markets, Singapore.

"It was a clearly dovish statement by the Fed," she said adding that the dollar rebounded after the minutes and gold traders are now taking profits.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was up 0.2 percent.

The Fed, in the minutes of its latest meeting in January, said the U.S. economy and its labour market remained strong, prompting some expectations of at least one more interest rate hike this year.

Higher interest rates make gold less attractive since it does not pay interest and costs to store and insure.

Spot gold may retrace into a range of $1,321-$1,331 per ounce and it seems to have peaked around a resistance at $1,351 per ounce, according to Reuters analyst Wang Tao.

Markets were still on the lookout for signs of progress in the latest round of trade negotiations between the United States and China, amid expectations that U.S. President Donald Trump will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping next month to strike a deal.

"After finding major support at the $1,300 per ounce mark, (gold) prices have witnessed an upthrust, and moved past the invincible $1,326 per ounce mark," said Sugandha Sachdeva, vice-president, metals, energy and currency research, Religare Broking Ltd.

"This has set the path for gold to traverse on the upwards trajectory towards $1,365 per ounce in the near-term."

Reflecting investor appetite for bullion, holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.26 percent to 794.50 tonnes on Wednesday. The holdings rose for the first time since end-January.

Among other precious metals, palladium fell 0.8 percent to $1,476.64 per ounce. The autocatalyst metal had surpassed the crucial $1,500 psychological level the previous session on market supply woes.

Spot platinum dipped 0.2 percent to $821.26 an ounce, while silver fell 0.5 percent to $15.95.

(Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford and Subhranshu Sahu)

((karthikasuresh.namboothiri@thomsonreuters.com; +91 80 6749 0997 (If within U.S. call 651-848-5832); Reuters Messaging: karthikasuresh.namboothiri.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))