PRECIOUS-Gold prices climb as trade deal concerns linger

 (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:

    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
    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

 (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri and Asha Sistla in Bengaluru;
Editing by Uttaresh.V and David Clarke)