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PRECIOUS-Gold falls as Fed's taper talks boost U.S. dollar

* Dollar hits a over nine-month high

* Palladium hits more than five-month low at $2,409.68/oz (Adds comment, updates prices)

Aug 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices slipped on Thursday, as the dollar catapulted to multi-month highs after U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting minutes signalled it would start tapering its pandemic-era stimulus this year.

Spot gold fell 0.5% to $1,779.52 per ounce by 0640 GMT.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,779.50.

The dollar index scaled an over nine-month peak, making gold expensive for holders of other currencies.

“Gold lost a little bit of upside momentum as market participants increasingly grew wary of the risk that the Fed could start tapering its bond-buying by the end of the year,” IG Market analyst Kyle Rodda said.

Over the next few days, gold’s price action would be determined by the speculation relating to Fed tapering and what they might say about tapering at Jackson Hole symposium, Rodda added.

The minutes from July meeting showed U.S. central bank officials saw the potential to ease bond-buying programme this year if the economy continues to improve as expected.

However, the minutes also magnified the importance of the next few months’ jobs reports, with solid gains needed to meet the Fed’s expectations and show that the coronavirus has not begun to again slow the economy.

Gold had slumped to a more than four-month low of $1,684.37, following a robust July nonfarm payrolls data.

The precious metal is viewed as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement. The Fed’s tapering would tackle both those conditions thereby diminishing gold’s appeal.

“In the short term, this taper talk may put pressure on the gold price but I believe gold has priced in the spectre of higher rates,” said Vincent Tie, sales manager at Singapore dealer, Silver Bullion.

Spot silver fell 0.9% to $23.26 per ounce. Platinum dropped 1.2% to $982.94.

Palladium fell 0.6% to $2,413.02, after hitting its lowest level since March 16 at $2,409.68.

Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Rashmi Aich

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