PRECIOUS-Gold steadies ahead of Fed minutes after steep slide

* Firmer dollar keeps up pressure on gold

* Minutes of Fed's Jan meeting due at 1900 GMT

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

(Updates throughout, adds LONDON dateline) LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Wednesday after its biggest one-day slide in 2-1/2 months as investors awaited the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting later for clues on the outlook for U.S. interest rates. Fresh gains in the dollar, however, kept prices under pressure, holding the metal near a one-week low.

Spot gold was at $1,328.80 an ounce at 1030 GMT,

little changed from late on Tuesday but off an earlier low of

$1,325.20. U.S. gold futures for April delivery were down

30 cents an ounce at $1,330.90. "With both the dollar recovering and real yields staying as elevated as they are, that is creating some nervousness (in gold)," Saxo Bank's head of commodity research Ole Hansen said. "Also, the FOMC minutes raise some concerns - the market is more worried about an accelerated rate hiking cycle than any slowdown. The market will be looking to the minutes for further guidance." Gold slid 1.3 percent on Tuesday, the most on any day since Dec. 7, as a rise in U.S. yields boosted the dollar and weakened the appeal of non-interest bearing gold. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields hovered near a four-year peak on Tuesday. Yields have risen after the U.S. Treasury Department issued more debt in anticipation of a higher deficit from last year's tax overhaul and a budget deal that will lift federal spending over the next two years. Stocks fell in Europe on Wednesday, while the dollar rose 0.1 percent against the euro as traders' near-term focus shifted to the Fed minutes. The minutes, due to be released at 1900 GMT, will be watched for comment on inflation pressures in the world's biggest economy, which could speed up the pace of rate hikes. Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, as these increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced. Interest in physical gold has been muted this week during the Lunar New Year holiday across much of Asia, including major consumer China. "The return of China will be closely to watched for any renewed physical interest in Asia to stem the weakness," MKS said in a note. The firm dollar and higher Treasury yields are likely to keep the metal under pressure, however, it said. On the investment side of the market, holdings at the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold

Shares , rose 3.2 tonnes on Tuesday to 827.79 tonnes. Among other precious metals, silver was flat at $16.45 an ounce, while palladium was 0.8 percent lower at $1,025.10 and platinum was down 0.5 percent to $995.10.

(Additional reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)