* Gold down 1.4% so far this week, biggest drop since end-March
* Palladium hits record high of $1,705.84/oz
* Platinum on track for first weekly gain in five
* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl
Oct 11 (Reuters) - Gold fell over 1% on Friday, en route to its biggest weekly decline since March, as easing concerns about the U.S.-China trade conflict and Britain’s exit from the European Union renewed appetite for riskier assets.
Spot gold fell 0.8% to $1,482.85 per ounce as of 1:31 p.m. EDT (1731 GMT), after slumping as much as 1.4% earlier.
It was headed for a weekly decline of about 1.4%, its biggest since the end of March.
U.S. gold futures settled down 0.8% at $1,488.70.
“The U.S. and China appear to be close to reaching, at least, a partial agreement on trade and that’s lifting investors sentiment (for riskier assets). That’s a negative for safe-haven assets including gold,” Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst with Kitco Metals.
Investors expect top-level U.S.-China talks to result in a partial trade deal, which would dial down the 15-month dispute and delay a U.S. tariff hike scheduled for next week.
“There are reports that the UK and the EU may be making some progress on a Brexit that won’t be a hard Brexit and that’s lifting European spirit so all that is working against the gold market,” Wyckoff added.
Gold denominated in sterling slid about 3% to 1,163.22 pounds an ounce.
A Brexit deal could be clinched by the end of October to allow the UK to leave the EU in an orderly fashion, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said after what he called a very positive meeting with Boris Johnson.
Gold is often used as a hedge against political and economic uncertainties.
Analysts said gold still looked bullish both fundamentally and technically, in the longer term.
“I don’t see a massive sell-off in gold on the back of a trade deal if there is one. It would actually be positive in (the) long term,” said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst with Forex.com.
“If China gets a deal, Chinese demand for gold should rise as it is the largest gold consumer in the world.”
Among other precious metals, palladium fell 0.2% to $1,696.30 an ounce, after scaling a record of $1,705.84 earlier in the day.
“The fundamentals project a shortfall of supply of palladium to the market going forward and the physical availability is tight at the moment,” a New York-based analyst said, adding positive trade developments are further supporting the metal.
Palladium is used by the auto sector and oil refineries because of its catalytic properties.
Platinum fell 0.5% to $894.45 an ounce but was on track for its first weekly gain in five, while silver was steady at $17.48. (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan and Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Richard Chang)
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