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PRECIOUS-Gold up after U.S. Fed minutes; dollar strength cuts gains

* Fed minutes show split over jobs, bond-buying taper

* Focus on central bank’s annual Jackson Hole symposium next week

* Dollar jumps to highest since April (Updates prices, adds detail from Fed’s July meeting minutes)

Aug 18 (Reuters) - Gold turned positive after the release of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s July policy meeting minutes on Wednesday, although a firm dollar limited any safe haven inflows into bullion in response to the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,786.76 per ounce by 2:43 pm EDT (1843 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled down 0.2% at $1,784.4 per ounce.

“Concerns about the Delta variants spreading across the globe is obviously a little bit of a driver for gold,” said Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors.

Although people are also expecting more from the Fed on policy tightening, “so that’s been the main driver since morning,” Matousek added.

According to the Fed’s July meeting minutes, officials said they still had faith in the U.S. economic recovery despite a troubling rise in Delta variant cases and continued laying plans for the eventual end of the central bank’s monthly purchases of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

“Ultimately the focus is on the Jackson Hole symposium and the next non-farm payroll numbers, which will be very crucial for the market,” said Jigar Trivedi, commodities analyst at Mumbai-based broker Anand Rathi Shares.

The dollar index hit its highest since April, limiting the appetite for gold for those holding other currencies, while concerns over rising coronavirus cases dented risk appetite.

“Gold prices have recovered sharply on increased haven flows of late and the drop in bond yields, but with the U.S. dollar rising, the upside for the precious metal has been capped,” Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst with ThinkMarkets said in a note.

Elsewhere, silver fell 0.5% to $23.51 per ounce, platinum rose 0.4% to $1,001, and palladium shed 2.7% to $2,422.85.

The slide in “these two highly industrial precious” could be attributed to weakness in some base metals, Commerzbank said in a note. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar and Swati Verma in Bengaluru; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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