* Analyst cites geopolitical uncertainty boosting gold's appeal

* Fed's Powell hints U.S. rates may stay higher for longer

* Markets pricing in less than 50 bps of U.S. cuts for 2024

April 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices climbed on Thursday, as risks of a widening Middle East conflict raised bullion's safe-haven appeal, overshadowing pressures from higher-for-longer U.S. interest rates.

Spot gold was up 0.6% at $2,374.97 per ounce, as of 0429 GMT, after hitting an all-time high of $2,431.29 last Friday. U.S. gold futures edged 0.1% higher to $2,389.70.

"Given the fact that we do have a lot of uncertainty on the geopolitical front, which is supporting this upward trend that is still prevalent in gold," said Kelvin Wong, a senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA.

Israel will make its own decisions about how to defend itself, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as Western countries pleaded for restraint in responding to a volley of attacks from Iran.

Although, "U.S. interest rates remaining higher for a longer may be adding some pressure to the ongoing boost for gold ... In the short term, we will start to see a bit of consolidation and a potential pullback," Wong said.

Higher interest rates reduce the appeal of holding non-yielding bullion.

Fed officials are now being more careful about discussing the timing of rate cuts, with Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday signaling rates may stay higher for longer.

Traders of futures contracts tied to the Fed's policy rate are now pricing in less than 50 basis points of rate cuts for 2024, while betting on the first quarter point cut to arrive in September.

Elsewhere, European Central Bank's policymaker Mario Centeno said "even after 25 or 50 basis points of cuts we'll still have a tight monetary policy stance."

Spot silver rose 0.6% to $28.38 per ounce, platinum was steady at $938.40 and palladium was up 0.2% at$1,027.82.

(Reporting by Sherin Elizabeth Varghese in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Harshit Verma; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)