* Markets await release of Fed minutes at 1800 GMT
* Gold edges further from Monday's two-month high
* India set to re-start imports after cenbank clarification
(Changes throughout, updates byline, dateline from SINGAPORE)
By Zhe Sun
LONDON, Aug 21 Gold inched lower on Wednesday,
under pressure from gains in the dollar and uncertainty over
whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin curbing its
bullion-friendly economic stimulus measures from next month.
Investors are awaiting the release of minutes of the Fed's
July meeting at 1800 GMT, which could give an indication of
whether the Fed could begin tapering its $85 billion monthly
bond-buying programme as early as September.
Spot gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,365.00 by 1034 GMT,
while U.S. gold futures for December delivery were udown
$8.40 an ounce at $1,364.20. On Monday gold hit a two-month high
Speculation that the Fed is set to curb its quantitative
easing programme, which helped drive gold prices to record highs
in 2011, has pushed the metal down by a fifth this year, but
investors remain unclear on the outlook for policy.
"The Fed minutes tonight are more or less the only focus
today - we're treading water ahead of it," said Ole Hansen,
senior manager at Saxo Bank.
"Our consensus is (for stimulus to be reduced by) $20
billion (a month) at the beginning of September. Any deviation
from that could have an impact on the price," he added.
The dollar index was up 0.2 percent, up from a
two-month low on Tuesday, but remained under pressure from
uncertainty in the markets.
Investor sentiment towards gold appeared more positive than
earlier this year, with investors once again injecting money
again into gold-backed exchange-traded funds.
The SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold ETF,
reported inflows of 1.8 tonnes on Tuesday, the fourth daily rise
in its reserves in the last two weeks. Gold ETFs recorded
outflows of 402 tonnes in the first half of this year.
INDIA IMPORTS TO RESUME
Gold futures in India traded near their highest in eight
months on Wednesday as the rupee weakened, but demand remained
subdued ahead of the resumption of imports.
"India remains largely absent amid tighter regulations and a
weak currency," UBS said in a note. "Conversations with local
participants suggest that there is good interest to re-start
import activities soon, especially with authorities currently
working to clarify the new rules."
Indian traders said they will start importing gold again
over the next week or so after the central bank clarified a new
rule that brought the flow of the precious metal into the
world's top gold consumer to a standstill at the end of July.
Demand from China and India is expected to hit 1,000 tonnes
each this year, according to the World Gold Council.
Silver was last trading at $22.95 an ounce, down 0.2
percent. Platinum was up 0.1 percent at $1,514.74 an
ounce, while palladium was down 0.2 percent at $745.72 an
China's silver imports fell 22.1 percent in July to 212,029
kg, official customs data showed on Wednesday, while its
platinum imports rose 20 percent to 8,941 kg, with imports from
South Africa, its biggest supplier, up 38 percent to 5,780 kg.
Chinese palladium imports fell 15 percent last month to
(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore,
editing by William Hardy)