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PRECIOUS-Brexit worries push gold to highest in over 7 weeks

* Uncertainty over Brexit, Trump presidency worrying
investors
    * Silver hits over 1-mth high of $16.98
    * Platinum marks over 2-mth peak of $991.70

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    By Sethuraman N R
    Jan 17 (Reuters) - Gold prices hit their highest in more
than seven weeks on Tuesday, boosted by safe-haven buying ahead
of a speech in which British Prime Minister Theresa May is
expected to discuss plans for a "hard Brexit".
    Spot gold had risen 0.8 percent to $1,212.40 per
ounce by 0605 GMT, its highest since Nov. 23.  
    U.S. gold futures were up 1.3 percent at $1,211.80
per ounce.
    "Gold is going to do very well in the first half of the year
due to Brexit concerns, Chinese currency pressure and
uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump's policies," said Richard
Xu, fund manager at China's biggest gold exchange-traded fund,
HuaAn Gold.
    "Stock valuations are pretty high and bonds are not going to
perform much better than what they are doing now. There are very
few alternatives for liquidity to go to and gold prices will
find some support," Xu added.
    Britain will not seek a Brexit deal that leaves it "half in,
half out" of the European Union, Prime Minister May will say on
Tuesday, according to her office, in a speech setting out her 12
priorities for upcoming divorce talks with the bloc.
 
    "With more currency uncertainty lying ahead after
Prime-Minister's May speech on Tuesday and with the European
Central Bank also meeting on Thursday and likely staying dovish
despite pressure on it to tighten, we think gold still has more
room to move higher," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.
    Markets will also look to President-elect Trump and his
plans for the U.S. economy after his inauguration on Friday. 
    A trade war between the United States and China, as well as
a strengthening dollar are among the biggest threats to a
brightening global economic outlook, according to leading
economists at the World Economic Forum in Davos. 
    Trump's campaign calls for tax cuts and more infrastructure
spending have boosted U.S. shares and the dollar, as well as
driving a selloff in Treasuries, but his protectionist
statements and a flurry of off-the-cuff Tweets have kept many
investors from adding to risky positions, instead opting for
gold.
    "We see that $1,250 is not far away, but it is not going to
rise above $1,300 as monetary policies are not going to be
accommodative for gold prices to appreciate in a much bigger
way," said Xu of HuaAn Gold.
    Investor interest in gold was indicated as holdings of the
largest physically-backed ETF, New York's SPDR Trust, on
Friday rose for the first time since Nov. 9, the day after
Trump's election victory. 
    Spot silver was up 1 percent at $16.94 an ounce on
Tuesday.
    Platinum climbed 0.8 percent to $988.35, while
palladium was firm at $744.65.

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali
Paul and Joseph Radford)
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