PRECIOUS-Gold slips from three-week high as equities, dollar rise

* Equities climb 2 percent, dollar index bounces from 8-month low

* Silver cuts losses, rises to fresh 5-1/2-month peak (Updates prices; adds comment, second byline, NEW YORK dateline)

NEW YORK/LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) - The price of gold fell from the previous day’s three-week peak on Wednesday as the dollar surged to a two-week high against the euro, and major stock markets rose after surprisingly upbeat trade data allayed concerns over China’s economy.

Silver defied weakness in other precious metals to climb to a new 5-1/2-month high, coming close to a 10-month top, after a break through key chart resistance at $16 an ounce set it up for further gains.

The U.S. dollar rose 0.9 percent against a currency basket , having slid to its lowest in nearly eight months in the previous session, while major stocks climbed.

Spot gold was down 0.7 percent at $1,246.90 an ounce at 1:58 p.m. EDT (1758 GMT), while U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled down 1 percent at $1,248.30.

“Stronger equities and a relatively stronger dollar have put some pressure on gold,” MKS’ head of trading Afshin Nabavi said.

“But overall, we couldn’t break $1,265 on the upside yesterday, and gold looks like a good buy around $1,240, so I would say that that is the trading range. Physical (demand) continues to be very, very slow.”

Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.9 percent at $16.31 an ounce, a 5-1/2-month high.

The gold/silver ratio, which measures the number of silver ounces needed to buy an ounce of gold, slid to a 3-1/2-month low as silver outperformed gold.

“I think it will probably outperform gold in the intermediate term because base metals are finding a base and the gold market is strong,” said Joe Foster, portfolio manager and strategist of VanEck International Investors Gold Fund in New York.

“We’re in a new positive trend. We’ll spend the rest of the year probably establishing a new trend for gold and silver.”

Sharp inflows into silver-backed exchange-traded funds suggest investor appetite for the metal has been strong. Holdings of the silver ETFs tracked by Reuters have risen by 946 tonnes since the start of the year.

“Silver holdings of physically backed ETFs have gone through the roof, while the ones in gold have come down,” Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah said.

Platinum, which hit a one-month high on Tuesday at $1,001.88, was up 0.3 percent at $999.01 an ounce. Palladium was down 0.4 percent at $542.15 an ounce.

Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; Editing by Greg Mahlich and James Dalgleish