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Gold dips ahead of U.S.-China deal, palladium hits record high

(Reuters) - Gold slipped to more than one-week low on Tuesday as strength in equities markets and hopes for a smooth signing of the U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal tarnished bullion’s safe-haven appeal, while palladium hit a record high.

FILE PHOTO: Gold U.S. dollar bullion coins are seen in this photo illustration taken in Moscow, Russia, August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Illustration/File Photo

Spot gold dipped 0.4% to $1,542.50 an ounce by 1300 GMT after touching their lowest since Jan. 3 at $1,535.63. U.S. gold futures dropped 0.5% to $1,543.10.

“As long as stocks continue to make these record highs, there is no real need for the insurance policies you’ll find in gold,” Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen said.

“We have the signing of the trade deal ... we are probably not going to see anyone rocking the boat at this stage, but nevertheless it will give the market an opportunity to read the text and see what’s in the deal.”

Only a day before the Phase 1 trade deal signing, the U.S. Treasury on Monday dropped China’s designation as a currency manipulator, fuelling market optimism.

Global equities are at record highs but the tide turned at the opening of European markets as traders took profits ahead of the trade deal.

“In the current market environment, characterised as it is by high risk appetite among market participants, gold is not in demand,” Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note.

“The news backdrop at present is not conducive to rising gold prices and is more likely to cause the correction to continue.”

Bullion rose to its highest in nearly seven years last week on worries over potential military conflict between the United States and Iran, but the rally faded in the absence of any further escalation in tensions.

Analysts said investors are still taking some profits after the massive spike in prices.

“That has also been noted in the exchange-traded funds market, where there have been some quite sizeable reductions since we reached that high,” Saxo Bank’s Hansen said.

Also on investors’ radar was the Fed’s Beige Book, a summary of commentary on economic conditions, due on Wednesday.

Palladium hit a record high of $2,155.01 an ounce and was on track for a ninth straight session of gains, supported by a sustained supply deficit.

The metal widely used in catalytic converters in automobile exhaust systems was up 0.9% at $2,151.71.

Elsewhere, silver was down 1.2% at $17.74 after hitting its lowest since Dec. 24 at $17.64 and platinum slipped by 0.6% to $967.86.

Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by David Evans and David Goodman