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PRECIOUS-Gold steadies as weakened dollar slips further

* Cautious FOMC minutes send dollar lower in holiday week

* Chinese stocks slide dampens risk appetite

* Markets in Japan, U.S. closed on Thursday

(Updates prices, adds details) LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Thursday after rising nearly 1 percent in the previous session as the dollar sank on reduced expectations for U.S. interest rate hikes next year. The dollar suffered its biggest drop in five months on Wednesday after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's showed "many participants" were concerned inflation would stay below the bank's 2 percent target for longer than expected. The greenback was still nursing losses on Thursday, supporting dollar-priced gold by making it cheaper for non-U.S. investors.

Spot gold was 0.1 percent lower at $1,290.82 per

ounce by 1313 GMT on Thursday.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery were 0.1

percent lower at $1,291.20. "Gold is obviously still in need of a spark but we still see a chance of it reaching our year-end target of $1,325," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank. "The outlook for inflation is still low, long yields will remain subdued and then we have geopolitical risks rising this year. That's enough to prompt investors to buy gold, even though the growth outlook is still strong across the world." Trading was lighter than usual on Thursday, with Japanese financial markets shut for a public holiday while U.S. markets will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. In wider markets, Chinese stocks suffered their biggest fall in almost two years, weighing on global equities, denting risk appetite and providing underlying support for gold, seen as a safe haven asset. With Chinese stocks down, low yielding currencies such as the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc remained firmly supported against the dollar. Earlier this week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen stuck by her prediction that U.S. inflation would soon rebound, but offered an unusually strong caveat that she was "very uncertain" about this and open to the possibility that prices could remain low for years to come. Holdings of the largest gold-backed exchange-traded-fund (ETF), New York's SPDR Gold Trust GLD, and the largest silver-backed ETF, New York's iShares Silver Trust SLV, were unchanged on Wednesday from Tuesday. Spot gold may test a support at $1,283 per ounce as it failed to break resistance at $1,297, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

In other precious metals, silver slipped 0.2 percent to $17.12 an ounce, platinum fell 0.9 percent to $930.20 an ounce, while palladium was flat at $1,001.95 an ounce.

(Additional reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter/Susan Fenton/Alexander Smith)