PRECIOUS-Gold prices tepid as traders cautious amid Evergrande, pre-Fed jitters

* Spot gold may retest support at $1,744/oz - technicals

* Gold skewed to downside long-term as Fed normalizes policy -analyst (Recasts, adds comment, and updates prices)

By Eileen Soreng

Sept 21 (Reuters) - Gold prices were subdued on Tuesday as cautious investors braced for U.S. Federal Reserve's guidance on tapering its assets and interest rate hikes, while risk-off sentiment stoked by China Evergrande's (EGRNF) debt crisis limited losses in the safe-haven metal.

Bullion is considered as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement likely to result from the widespread stimulus. A hawkish move by the Fed would diminish gold's appeal, while an eventual interest rate hike would also raise the opportunity cost of holding the non-interest bearing asset.

Spot gold inched 0.2% lower to $1,760.80 per ounce by 0645 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,762.10.

"In the longer term, they're (gold prices) still skewed to the downside because we're going to continue to see the Fed wanting to push towards normalizing monetary policy, which typically is not a good environment for gold," IG Market analyst Kyle Rodda said.

The Fed is likely to provide an outlook on how soon and how often they think the economy will need interest rate rises over the next three years at their policy meeting on Wednesday.

Gold prices recovered on Monday from a more than one-month low of $1,741.86 as concerns over the fallout from property developer Evergrande's solvency issues spooked stock markets worldwide and drove investors to safe-haven assets.

"Depending on how the Evergrande situation plays out with markets, gold could continue finding safe-haven buyers, or buying interest could evaporate ... particularly if the China government soothes nerves when it returns to work tomorrow," Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA, said in a note.

On the technicals front, spot gold may retest a support at $1,744, a break below could cause a fall into the $1,724-$1,736 range, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Silver edged 0.2% higher to $22.28 per ounce.

Palladium climbed 1.2% to $1,908.71, while platinum gained 0.8% to $918.00.

(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Rashmi Aich)

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