PRECIOUS-Gold dips as dollar edges up before latest Fed minutes

* Silver falls as much as 3.1% U.S. Fed minutes due for release at 1800 GMT

* Dollar gains after 3-day slide (Updates prices)

May 19 (Reuters) – Gold prices eased on Wednesday as the U.S. dollar ticked higher, with investors waiting for the latest round of Federal Reserve policy meeting minutes to gauge its stance on interest rates in the wake of rising inflation concerns.

Having risen for four sessions to its highest since Jan. 29 at $1,874.80 per ounce on Tuesday, spot gold fell 0.2% to $1,864.51 by 1239 GMT. U.S. gold futures dipped 0.1% to $1,865.20.

“The recent gains we’ve seen in gold prices were quite unexpected. The dollar was weaker indeed so that helped,” Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said.

“I would say that part of the recent countermove or today’s countermove is some profit taking, partly driven also by a small rebound of the U.S. dollar.”

The dollar index was on track to break a three-day losing streak.

Gold prices have risen by more than $190, or nearly 12%, since falling to a nine-month trough in early March, with gains driven by a pullback in the U.S. currency and a rise in inflation expectations, as bullion is seen as a hedge against inflation.

Investors are awaiting the release of minutes from the Fed’s April 27-28 policy meeting, which are due at 1800 GMT.

The minutes “could provide more guidance on the Fed inflation outlook and also the direction of monetary policy stance,” said Xiao Fu, head of commodities markets strategy at Bank of China International.

“Gold has been quite resilient recently because there’s been a resumption of inflows into gold ETFs due to a resurgence of coronavirus in parts of Asia, so that’s boosted safe haven demand for gold.”

Silver fell as much as 3.1% in the session and was last down 1.9 % at $27.67 per ounce.

Palladium was down 1.6% at $2,857.18 per ounce, while platinum fell 2.3% to $1,190.52.

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