PRECIOUS Gold consolidates near one-month peak on cautious Fed

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Gold bullion is displayed at GoldSilver Central's office in Singapore June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

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  • Dollar index slips to two-week low
  • UK markets closed for bank holiday
  • European stocks near record highs
  • Silver's technical picture remains more fragile - analyst

Aug 30 (Reuters) - Gold steadied near a four-week high on Monday, consolidating gains after the U.S. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell signalled interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future.

While some investors view gold as a hedge against the higher inflation that could follow stimulus measures, lower interest rates also decrease the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Spot gold was steady at $1,816.51 per ounce by 1129 GMT, after earlier hitting its highest since Aug. 4 at $1,822.92. U.S. gold futures edged 0.1% lower to $1,818.10.

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"Overall, (the) monetary policy background will remain accommodative and there are uncertainties around (the) COVID-19 Delta variant, Chinese slowdown concerns, geopolitical tensions," said Harshal Barot, a senior research consultant for South Asia at Metals Focus.

All those factors provided a bullish backdrop for gold prices, he said.

"Powell laid out a clear distinction between the tapering of bond purchases and an interest rate hike. Even though tapering might start this year, a rate hike is far away," Barot added.

In a virtual speech at the Jackson Hole economic conference on Friday, Powell offered no signal on when the central bank plans to cut its asset purchases beyond saying it could be "this year", and indicated it would remain cautious in any eventual decision to raise interest rates. read more

Powell's dovish statement helped gold gain 1.4% on Friday, while pushing the dollar index to a two-week low. EU

Investor focus now shifts to the U.S. nonfarm payroll data for August on Friday, which could shed more light on the labour market recovery and influence the Fed's tapering strategy.

"From a technical point of view gold remains in a positive environment," said Carlo Alberto De Casa, market analyst at Kinesis.

"We have seen a rebound also on silver, but the technical picture remains anyway more fragile, as the grey metal is still underperforming gold."

Silver fell 0.6% to $24.14 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.2% to $1,009.49. Palladium climbed 0.9% to $2,440.34.

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Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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