Gold dips as rate hike bets, strong dollar trump safe-haven bids

* Minutes of Fed June meeting due on Wednesday

* Gold could move between $1,750 and $1,900 for a while - analyst

* India's June gold imports treble y/y on price correction

* Russia's Potanin ready to discuss Nornickel-Rusal merger

By Arundhati Sarkar

July 5 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Tuesday pressured by rate hike expectations and a stronger dollar, but growing recession fears kept safe-haven bullion pinned near the key support level of $1,800 an ounce.

Spot gold XAU= fell 0.4% to $1,801.51 per ounce by 1231 GMT, while U.S. gold futures GCv1 steadied at $1,802.10.

The dollar .DXY climbed to its highest in about two decades, making gold less attractive for overseas buyers.

"Gold could continue its lateral movement between $1,750 and $1,900 for a while," said Carlo Alberto De Casa, external market analyst for Kinesis Money.

"The strength of the USD is making it complicated for bullion to rebound further, but at the same time, investors want to have bullion in their portfolio due to the high uncertainty."

While gold is considered a hedge against inflation, rising interest rate hikes have heaped pressure on the non-yielding asset.

Minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting and U.S. non-farm payroll numbers will be scanned this week for indications on the pace of policy tightening.

Gold represents an important instrument to balance financial portfolios amid the current economic uncertainty, De Casa said.

In the physical markets, India's gold imports in June nearly trebled from year-ago levels as prices corrected, and Zimbabwe's central bank said it would start selling gold coins amid runaway inflation.

Among other precious metals, spot silver XAG= fell 0.6% to $19.84 per ounce, platinum XPT= slipped 1.9% to $868.87 and palladium XPD= edged 0.9% lower to $1,904.81.

"The near-term technicals for gold and silver are fully bearish, which is also inviting the technically based speculators to play the short sides of the futures markets," said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals.

Russian businessman Vladimir Potanin, the largest shareholder at top palladium producer Nornickel GMKN.MM , said he was ready to discuss a possible merger with aluminium producer Rusal 0486.HK , in part as a defence against Western sanctions.
Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely, David Evans and Aditya Soni

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