PRECIOUS-Gold set for best year since 2010

    Dec 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices on Friday held steady near a
one-month high hit in the previous session, but were on track
for their best year since 2010, mainly driven by a softer dollar
and political uncertainties around the globe.
    * Spot gold        was little changed at $1,294.70 an ounce
at 0041 GMT, having hit its highest since Nov. 29 at $1,295.21
in the previous session.
    * Gold benefited from a technically-driven momentum after
closing above its 100-day moving average on Wednesday for the
first time since late November, analysts said.
    * Spot gold has gained over 1.5 percent so far this week in
what could be its third straight weekly rise, and more than 12
percent so far this year. 
    * The yellow metal is also on track for its best month since
August, having risen 1.5 percent.
    * Spot prices on Thursday rose for a ninth straight session,
not including the Christmas holiday. That is the longest string
of daily gains since July 2011.
    * U.S. gold futures         were steady at $1,296.80 an
    * The dollar index is down more than 9 percent so far this
year, set for its biggest annual loss since 2003. That has
helped lift gold nearly 5 percent from a near five-month low of
$1,235.92 struck in mid-December.       
    * Many investors predicted the dollar would get a boost from
U.S. tax cuts, tighter central bank monetary policy and strong
growth rates in 2017. Instead, the currency has only weakened.
    * Meanwhile, equity markets have feasted on a global
economic growth recovery and accommodative monetary policy in
2017, which has, in turn, lifted company earnings and commodity
    * Net gold imports by major consumer China via main conduit
Hong Kong fell 23.6 percent in November from the previous month,
data showed.             
    * Spot silver        was down 0.1 percent at $16.82 on
Friday. Silver prices hit their highest in over a month on
Thursday at $16.88 an ounce.
    * Silver has risen 5.7 percent so far this year.
    * Spot platinum        fell 0.1 percent to $921.74 on
Friday, after touching a more than three-week high in the
previous session at $927.50 an ounce. Platinum is up 2.6 percent
so far this year.
    * Palladium        was mostly unchanged at $1,065.74 on
Friday. It touched its highest since February 2001 at $1,072 on
    * Palladium has risen nearly 57 percent so far this year,
making it the best performing precious metal, and also heading
for its best year since 2010.
    * Palladium has risen due to strong demand from autocatalyst
makers amid production shortages. Analysts expect that about 80
percent of global palladium demand will come from autocatalysts
for gasoline-powered cars, which many now prefer over
diesel-fuelled vehicles.

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)