PRECIOUS-Gold consolidates after slide on Fed taper fears

* Risks to gold skewed to the downside – analyst

* Dollar hit a 2021 peak (Updates prices)

Sept 29 (Reuters) – Gold recovered some ground on Wednesday as a pull-back in U.S. bond yields provided some respite to the precious metal, which has been hit by growing expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve could start unwinding its pandemic-era support soon.

Spot gold was up 0.4% at $1,740.92 per ounce by 1219 GMT, having fallen to its lowest in over a month on Tuesday.

U.S. gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,743.20.

Concerns the Fed might begin dialling back its stimulus measures kept the dollar near a 11-month high on Wednesday, denting gold’s appeal for buyers holding other currencies.

“The risks to gold are skewed to the downside with more and more speculation, after Norway’s central bank raised rates, about which central bank is going to follow,” said Quantitative Commodity Research Analyst Peter Fertig.

Reduced central bank stimulus tends to lift government bond yields, which in turn raises the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing gold.

On Wednesday, however, 10-year U.S. Treasury yields eased slightly and reduced that cost, though they held above 1.5%, levels not seen since late June, still posing a challenge for bullion.

Gold remains an attractive asset in the medium to long term, though, as investors could be tempted to pick up the metal given elevated stock valuations, said ActivTrades analyst Pierre Veyret.

In congressional testimony, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy was still far from achieving maximum employment, a key component of the central bank’s requirements for raising interest rates.

Platinum rose 0.4% to $970.79, while palladium climbed 1.9% to $1,912.18.

“You have a double-whammy for palladium because supply bottle-necks limiting auto production implies less palladium demand, therefore you have investors also holding less of the metal,” Fertig said, referring to a decline in holdings in palladium Exchange Traded Funds.

He also said the impact could be more pronounced on palladium than platinum, given the increased substitution into the latter by automakers.

Silver fell 0.8% to $22.25.

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