(Adds comments and updates prices) * Silver hits highest since Nov. 5 * Platinum climbs to more than 1-1/2-month high * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl By Diptendu Lahiri Dec 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices climbed to their highest in nearly two months on Thursday as lingering uncertainty around the signing of the "phase one" Sino-U.S. trade deal bolstered demand for safe-haven metal. The spot gold price rose 0.4% to $1,504.63 per ounce by 1308 GMT. Prices hit their highest since Nov. 5 earlier in the session at $1,507.13. U.S. gold futures was up 0.4% at$1,510.60 per ounce. "The U.S.-China trade tensions are very intense. Though recent news suggest a deal will go through, but until and unless something is on the paper, uncertainty will persist and gold will be riding on that," said Bernard Sin, group head of trading at MKS. China's Commerce Ministry said on Thursday that Beijing and Washington were still in the process of completing the necessary procedures while maintaining close communication to sign the deal. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday there would be a signing ceremony with the Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first phase of the agreement. A prolonged trade spat between the United States and China has weighed on financial markets and the global economy, helping gold gain more than 17% so far this year and putting it on track for its best year since 2010. For the week, gold has already gained 1.9% in a trade thinned by the holiday season. "The driver appears to be mostly technical following the breakup of the trading range between $1,450 and $1,475 in which the price was trapped for a few weeks," Carlo Alberto De Casa, Chief analyst at ActivTrades said in a note. "The first target is placed at $1,512 ... while the next key levels are at $1,530 and $1,550-$1,555," he said. Growth concerns over the U.S. economy lingered as data on Monday showed that new orders for key U.S.-made capital goods hardly rose in November and shipments fell, suggesting business investment will probably remain a drag on the economy in the fourth quarter. Monetary policies of the Federal Reserve and other central banks heavily depend on economic data from the United States. Higher interest rates raise the opportunity cost for holding the non-yielding metal. Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.8% to $17.94 per ounce, after having hit its highest since Nov. 5 earlier in the session at $18.01. Platinum rose 1.4% to $952.49 per ounce, after having touched its highest since Nov. 4 earlier in the session at $954.03 per ounce. Palladium was up 0.7% at $1,895.41 per ounce. (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri and Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V and David Clarke)
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