PRECIOUS-Gold races past $1,800/oz as bond yields, dollar slide

* Focus on Friday’s U.S. monthly jobs report

* Gold hits $1,817.90/oz, a high since Feb. 16

* Silver jumps as much as 3.6% (Adds comment, updates prices)

May 6 (Reuters) - Gold jumped over 1% on Thursday with a weaker dollar and easing Treasury yields propelling it over the key $1,800 psychological level.

Spot gold rose 1.6% to $1,814.50 per ounce by 2:00 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). During the session it hit $1,817.90, its highest since Feb. 16. U.S. gold futures settled 1.8% higher at $1,815.7.

“We really have yet to see a strong rebound in Treasury yields,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Despite the economic optimism, Federal Reserve policymakers seem unlikely to budge on their accommodative stance yet and investor inflation fears should boost gold, Moya added.

The Fed plans to keep borrowing costs near 0% and maintain monthly asset purchases worth $120 billion until it sees “substantial further progress” towards full employment and its 2% flexible inflation target.

U.S. 10-year Treasury yields slipped.

The dollar index fell 0.4%, making gold more attractive for those holding other currencies.

At a time of heavy government stimulus, gold is considered a hedge against potential inflation, but elevated Treasury yields have dulled the non-yielding bullion’s appeal this year.

“Gold is starting to move on rising inflationary pressures... Gold could get to over $1,850 within the next month,” said ED&F Man Capital Markets analyst Edward Meir.

Gold’s uptick also came despite data showing weekly jobless claims dropped to a 13-month low.

Focus now shifts to Friday’s U.S. monthly jobs report, which is expected to show non-farm payrolls increased by 978,000 last month.

Meanwhile, palladium fell 1% to $2,943.37 per ounce, having scaled an all-time high of $3,017.18 on Tuesday on strained supplies for the autocatalyst metal.

Silver climbed 3.2% to $27.34 per ounce, having earlier hit its highest level in over two months at $27.45. Platinum gained 2.1% to $1,250.74.

Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio and Nick Zieminski