* U.S. weekly initial jobless claims at 1230 GMT
* Dollar hits a more than two-week trough
* Next key resistance for gold at $1,830-$1,840 - analyst
July 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell struck a dovish tone, indicating much remains to be done before policy tightening begins, while a softer dollar lent further support to the metal.
Spot gold rose 0.5% to $1,815.30 per ounce by 0507 GMT, having earlier hit its highest since July 20 at $1,817.35.
U.S. gold futures climbed 0.9% to $1,815.00.
The Federal Reserve has talked down the risks of a rate hike and tapering a little bit, and that gives gold prospects to drift higher in the short term, said Kyle Rhoda, an analyst at IG Market.
“The next key level of resistance will be in the range of $1,830-$1,840.”
Powell said the U.S. job market still had “some ground to cover” before it would be time to pull back support and that it was “ways away” from considering interest rate hikes.
Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
Investors will now turn their attention to the U.S. weekly jobless claims data due at 1230 GMT.
Powell’s remarks sent the U.S. dollar index to a more than two-week low. A weaker greenback makes gold cheaper for holders of other currencies.
U.S. Treasury yields also fell after the Fed gave no details on when it is likely to reduce bond purchases.
“Rising monetary policy uncertainty, inflation and increasing risk of equity market volatility should favour demand for safe-haven assets,” ANZ Research said in a note.
Global demand for gold rose in the second quarter to its highest quarterly level in a year as central banks and investors stepped up purchases, the World Gold Council said.
Silver gained 1.13% to $25.21 per ounce, platinum rose 0.7% to $1,072.01, and palladium was up 0.6% at $2,641.71.
(Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel, Subhranshu Sahu and Ramakrishnan M.)