Gold surged to a record high on Thursday, as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell underlined that recent job gains and higher-than-expected inflation readings do not significantly alter the overall picture of the central bank's monetary strategy.


* Spot gold was up 0.1% at $2,300.53 per ounce, as of 0055 GMT, after hitting a record high of $2,302.29 earlier in the session. Bullion has hit record highs consecutively since last Thursday.

* U.S. gold futures edged 0.2% higher to $2,320.50 per ounce.

* Powell said that "if the economy evolves broadly as we expect," he and his Fed colleagues largely agree that a lower policy interest rate will be appropriate "at some point this year."

* Traders are pricing in a 62% probability that the Fed will begin cutting rates in June, according to the CME Group's FedWatch Tool. Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding bullion.

* The U.S. dollar to remain strong over the coming months as markets continue to push back on expectations for the timing and magnitude of Fed interest rate cuts, according to foreign exchange strategists polled by Reuters.

* Russia's finance ministry said it would more than double its purchases of foreign currency and gold in the month ahead.

* Hedge funds capped the first quarter with gains across different strategies, as a rally in stocks, some commodities and the dollar helped the industry weather a less shiny period for bonds, investors said.

* African development banks are seen as the most likely funders of Caledonia Mining Corporation's planned $250 million gold mine in Zimbabwe.

* Spot silver edged up 0.1% to $27.24 per ounce, platinum rose 0.2% to $938.93 and palladium gained 0.9% to $1,022.50.

(Reporting by Sherin Elizabeth Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)