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PRECIOUS-Gold ekes out gains in choppy trade as investors digest Fed strategy

* Fed: Higher inflation result of transitory factors

* Dollar falls 0.1% against its rivals

* (Updates prices, rewrites throughout)

July 28 (Reuters) - Gold prices on Wednesday shook off initial declines to move higher after a U.S. Federal Reserve policy statement as chair Jerome Powell flagged lingering risks to the U.S. economy from the Delta coronavirus variant.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,801.10 per ounce by 2:56 p.m. EDT (1856 GMT). U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,800.50.

Prices had dipped slightly after the Fed statement, which said the U.S. economic recovery remains on track despite a rise in coronavirus infections, and flagged ongoing talks around the eventual withdrawal of monetary policy support.

But bullion turned positive after Powell in a subsequent news conference said the rising cases of the Delta variant may weigh on a recovery in the labor market and that the central bank was still a “ways away” from considering raising interest rates.

Terming the initial declines to the statement a “knee-jerk” reaction, Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, said choppy price action in gold was likely as investors digest Powell’s statement.

“While the economy is still heading in the right direction, the overall takeaway is that we’re still going to see a lot of accommodation remain in place, and this taper announcement, whenever it happens, is going to be gradual and not on an accelerated basis,” Moya added.

Higher interest rates tend to weigh on bullion, as they raise the opportunity cost of holding the nonyielding metal.

Gold found support from a slight pullback in the dollar following Powell’s remarks, making bullion cheaper for those holding other currencies.

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.7% to $24.84.

Palladium gained 0.6% to $2,623.53 and platinum advanced 0.8% to $1,059.00. (Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam and Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru Editing by Barbara Lewis and Matthew Lewis)

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