* Silver eases from multi-year peak * Gold up more than 28% so far this year * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser (Recasts, updates prices) By Brijesh Patel July 29 (Reuters) - Gold was little changed on Wednesday, having retreated from an all-time high as investors booked profits, with caution setting in as focus turned to a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting widely expected to reinforce loose monetary policy. Spot gold was steady at $1,959.04 per ounce by 0723 GMT. Prices hit an all-time high of $1,980.57 on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,958.20. "As we get closer to the Fed announcement and the event risk, the market will get a bit more wary," said DailyFx currency strategist Ilya Spivak. Gold is closely following moves in the dollar as well, Spivak added. The dollar index resumed its downtrend after a brief pause to hold near its lowest level since June 2018 touched this week . A weaker dollar, also considered a rival safe haven, makes gold cheaper for holders of others currencies. Coronavirus cases continued to surge in the United States and stood at over 16.6 million globally. Its intensifying spread and an escalation in U.S.-China tensions have dented hopes of quick economic recovery, and have been driving inflows to safe-haven assets like gold, which has risen more than 28% so far this year. The Fed will publish its interest rate decision at 1800 GMT, widely expected to keep rates unchanged, following which Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to hold a press conference. "I expect the Fed to maintain its uber-dovish tone and this will support precious metals prices," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA. Gold tends to gain when interest rates are low, which reduces the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. It's also considered a hedge against inflation and currency debasement as central bank pump out stimulus. Republicans in the White House and the U.S. Congress struggled to reach a deal over a $1 trillion aid plan. Elsewhere, silver dropped 1.1% to $24.31 per ounce, platinum fell 1.1% to $937.93 and palladium slipped 1.1% to $2,257.49. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Uttaresh.V)
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