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PRECIOUS-Gold gains as lack of details on trade deal lifts demand
Published at 13/12/2019 at 19:23

(Recasts, adds comments, details, updates prices)

* Gold on track for best week in nearly 3-months

* U.S. dollar holds near 5-month low

* Palladium hits record high of $1,979.95/oz

* Silver, platinum eyes best week since October

By Eileen Soreng

Dec 13 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Friday as investors remained cautious about the developments in the United States and China trade negotiations, while political uncertainties in the world's biggest economy further boosted the metal's safe-haven appeal.

Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,477.09 per ounce by 1:42 p.m ET (1842 GMT) and with gains of more than 1.2% so far this week, the yellow metal is on track for its best week in nearly three-months.

U.S. gold futures settled up 0.6% at $1,481.20.

China will likely hit $50 billion in purchases of U.S. agricultural products, U.S. President Donald Trump said on after earlier announcing that he would roll back scheduled tariffs on Chinese imports as Washington and Beijing finalized an initial trade deal.

"Although there seems to be some progress, the lack of details is causing a lot of concern that we're not as far along in the trade deal as people would like and as a result we are getting a flight to safety," said Jeffrey Sica, founder of Circle Squared Alternative Investments.

Stocks swung between gains and losses, as investors were confused about signs of progress despite positive comments from both sides.

"The fact that gold is trading near $1,475 shows that there is still good interest in gold market... Although we have seen some risk appetite emerging on the back of phase one trade deal, other uncertainties continue to linger around U.S. political outlook," Standard Chartered Bank analyst Suki Cooper said.

A Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives committee approved charges of abuse of power and obstruction against Republican President Donald Trump on Friday, making it almost certain he will become the third American president in history to be impeached.

The dollar fell against a basket of currencies helping dollar-denominated gold edge higher.

Elsewhere, palladium fell 0.8% to $1,923.14 an ounce, having notched up an all-time high of $1,979.95.

"The auto sector is gradually gaining steam and with palladium being used as an autocatalyst in cars, demand is going up, while the supply still remains a constraint," said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig.

Plagued by a supply deficit, the metal has gained about 2.5% so far this week, predominantly supported by mine closures across major producer South Africa.

Platinum fell 1.9% to $925.71 per ounce, but was up about 3.5% for the week.

Silver inched down 0.2% at $16.90 but was set to record its best weekly gain since the end of October.

(Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Chizu Nomiyama)

((eileen.soreng@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6131; Reuters Messaging: eileen.soreng.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))