SINGAPORE Gold ticked up on Thursday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting showed caution over higher U.S. interest rates, but the metal's gains were capped by strength in global equities.
* Spot gold XAU= had risen 0.3 percent to $1,224.86 an ounce by 0047 GMT.
* Bullion slid 0.7 percent on Wednesday as global equity markets posted solid gains, aided by a climb in oil prices and a surge in healthcare stocks.
* Stronger equities dent the safe-haven appeal of gold.
* Weakness in the dollar supported gold. The greenback wallowed close to a 17-month low against the yen on Thursday.
* Minutes from the Fed's March 15-16 policy meeting released on Wednesday showed that policymakers debated whether an interest rate hike would be needed in April though a consensus emerged that risks from a global economic slowdown warranted a cautious approach.
* Policymakers had signalled at the close of that meeting that they expected to raise rates twice in 2016 but the timing of the hikes still appears up in the air.
* After the minutes, traders added slightly to bets that the Fed will raise rates earlier than December, the timing that had been expected before the release.
* Gold, which is sensitive to rate increases as they lift the opportunity cost of holding the non-interest-yielding metal, posted its biggest quarterly rise in nearly 30 years in the first three months of 2016 as expectations for rate rises faded.
* Assets in SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.51 percent to 819.60 tonnes on Wednesday, the first inflow in nearly two weeks.
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Joseph Radford)
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