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PRECIOUS-Gold near multi-month highs on weaker dollar

(Adds details, comment and updates prices)

* Dollar slides to 4-1/2 month low

* Potentially higher Chinese demand may support gold- analyst

* Markets await U.S. GDP, jobs data

May 25 (Reuters) - Gold steadied near its highest level in more than four months on Tuesday, buoyed by a weaker dollar but with gains capped after comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials calmed fears about inflation.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,883.14 per ounce by 12:07 GMT, not far from a 4-1/2 month peak of $1,889.75 hit last week.

U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,883.50.

“Generally, the comments from the Fed members yesterday were quite soothing in terms of inflation expectations, that may just have reduced a little bit of the appeal here in the short term,” said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.

The macroeconomic background and the weaker dollar is still supportive for bullion, but gold is increasingly starting to show signs that it needs to just consolidate following a strong rally since April, he said.

Gold is considered a hedge against inflation, but higher interest rates will dull its appeal as they translate into a higher opportunity cost of holding it.

Gold should benefit directly from suggestions that the Fed will stick with its ultra-expansionary monetary policy, and indirectly via the weak dollar, said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann in a note.

Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard and other officials in separate remarks all backed the U.S. central bank’s current easy monetary policy view.

The dollar hit 4-1/2 month lows, making gold less expensive for holders of other currencies.

U.S. gross domestic product, jobless claims and durable goods data are due on Thursday.

Gold could receive support from higher Chinese physical demand if China has been importing more gold from Switzerland and Hong Kong due to commercial banks there being granted higher import quotas for April and May, Briesemann added.

Elsewhere, palladium rose 0.5% to $2,740.49, platinum was up 0.8% at $1,183.83, while silver fell 0.5% to $27.66. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar and Nishara Karuvalli Pathikkal in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Jane Merriman)

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