August 22, 2018 / 4:06 AM / in 2 months

PRECIOUS-Gold slips from 1-week high, Fed minutes awaited

* SPDR Gold holdings fall 0.5 pct on Tuesday

* Investors await August Fed minutes due at 1800 GMT.

* Markets eye trade war talks and Jackson Hole this week (Recasts, adds comments, updates prices)

By Sethuraman N R

BENGALURU, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Wednesday after touching a one-week high earlier in the day, as the dollar recovered some ground lost to U.S. President Donald Trump’s criticism of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes.

Minutes from the Fed’s July 31-Aug. 1 policy meeting are expected later on Wednesday, which investors will study for clues on further rate hikes in the United States.

Spot gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,192.93 an ounce at 0715 GMT, after earlier hitting $1,197.66, its highest level since Aug. 14. U.S. gold futures were largely unchanged at $1,200 an ounce.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was marginally higher at 95.284, after having fallen to a nearly two-week low of 95.08 in the previous session.

“It appears, for now at least, gold has reached a trough, and will gradually strengthen,” said John Sharma, an economist at National Australia Bank. “The recent comments by President Trump attacking the Fed’s policy of raising rates would only benefit gold. Not adopting a tighter monetary stance might rekindle inflationary pressures, which should boost gold.”

Trump’s reiteration on Monday of displeasure with rising interest rates had weighed on the dollar, ahead of the Fed’s minutes and its annual economic symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming that will begin Friday.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates as it increases the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding metal while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

A weaker dollar has helped the precious metal recover from a more than 1-1/2-year low hit last week, after prices slipped below the key psychological level of $1,200.

Gold has come under pressure this year, sliding more than 12 percent since hitting a high of $1,365.23 in April amid U.S. interest rate hikes and a soaring dollar.

Markets also looked ahead to trade talks between Chinese and U.S. officials expected to begin later on Wednesday in Washington.

Meanwhile, liquidations continued at SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund. Holdings have fallen about 3.4 million ounces from a peak in late April.

“Investors seem to have lost all flair for gold ... it’s going to take quite a significant shift in the dynamics to reverse the outflows that has been building for sometime,” said Sydney-based ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes.

Spot silver was down 0.2 percent at $14.72 an ounce.

Platinum fell 0.3 percent to $790.30, after touching a one-week high of $803.10. Palladium slipped 0.3 percent to $913.75. (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; editing Sai Sachin Ravikumar and)

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