PRECIOUS-Gold inches up as dollar dips ahead of Fed meeting minutes

* Palladium rise to highest since Nov. 10

* Asian shares hit highest in a decade

* GRAPHIC-2017 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

(Updates prices, adds quote) Nov 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices crept up on Wednesday amid a softer dollar, with investors remaining cautious ahead of the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last meeting, which could offer hints on the outlook for the central bank's monetary policy.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,283.21 per ounce U.S. gold futures for December delivery gained 0.1

percent at $1,282.80. "We are not really sure that this (Fed meeting minutes) will have much of an impact given that the decision to raise rates in December is pretty much a forgone conclusion," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said. "Nevertheless, we suspect that investors will want to see what policymakers are thinking about the rate situation and how aggressive they will be on this front going forward." The Fed kept interest rates unchanged at its last meeting, minutes of which will be released on Wednesday. The Fed is "reasonably close" to its goals and should keep gradually raising U.S. interest rates to avoid the dual pitfalls of letting inflation drift below target for too long, and of driving unemployment down too far, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday. Higher interest rates help the dollar gain and push bond yields up, putting pressure on gold prices by increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. In other markets, the dollar index against a basket of six

major currencies was down 0.2 percent.

Amid lack of investment demand, gold's inverse relationship with the dollar is the strongest in more than a decade, Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said in a note. "While the dollar is unlikely to return to its recent peak, we still see upside from current levels as the U.S. Federal Reserve continues to hike interest rates. This should weigh on gold prices heading into next year." A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated gold more expensive for holders of other currencies. Meanwhile, Asian shares joined a global rally to reach their highest in a decade on Wednesday as strong world growth and rising corporate profits lured hordes of investors into equities. Gold investors are being guarded following the rally in stocks, said Dick Poon, general manager at Heraeus Metals Hong Kong Limited.

In other metals, silver rose 0.4 percent to $17.03 an ounce, while platinum gained 0.1 percent to $934 an ounce. Palladium was up 0.5 percent to $1,003.70 an

ounce, the highest since Nov. 10.

(Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Christian Schmollinger)