PRECIOUS-Gold prices edge higher on soft dollar

    Jan 2 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose slightly on Thursday as
the dollar remained on the back foot on signs of progress in
trade ties between the United States and China.
    * Spot gold        gained 0.1% to $1,518.60 per ounce by
0043 GMT. Prices hit their highest since Sept. 25 at $1,525.20
on Dec. 31. U.S. gold futures        were down 0.1% to
    * The dollar started the new year under pressure as
investors wagered U.S. economic outperformance could be coming
to an end as optimism on trade brightens the outlook for growth
    * A weaker greenback makes commodities priced in dollars,
such as precious metals, cheaper for holders of other
    * On the trade front, U.S. President Donald Trump said on
Tuesday the Phase 1 trade deal with China would be signed on
Jan. 15 at the White House, although investors still awaited
details of the agreement.             
    * Bullion ended 2019 with its strongest annual increase
since 2010, as worries over global economic health triggered a
surge of interest in precious metals, while palladium soared
more than 50% to record highs due to supply shortages.
    * China's central bank said on Wednesday it was cutting the
amount of cash that all banks must hold as reserves, releasing
around 800 billion yuan in funds to shore up the slowing
    * The U.S. Federal Reserve averted a year-end funding
squeeze on Tuesday as large banks took only a small portion of
$150 billion on offer in its last overnight repo operation of
2019, and the cost of borrowing fell to its lowest level since
March 2018.             
    * Among other precious metals, silver        rose 0.3%
to$17.88 per ounce, while platinum        gained 0.6% to $968.54
and palladium        edged up 0.3% to $1,944.87 per ounce.

0145 China Caixin Mfg PMI Final Dec
0500 India Markit Mfg PMI
0845 Italy Markit/IHS Mfg PMI   Dec
0850 France Markit Mfg PMI
0855 Germany Markit/BME Mfg PMI
0900 EU Markit Mfg Final PMI    Dec
0930 UK Markfit/CIPS Mfg PMI Final Dec
1100 Brazil Markit Mfg PMI Dec
1330 US Initial Jobless Claims w/e Dec 28
1330 US Continued Jobless Claims w/e Dec. 21
1430 Canada Markit Mfg PMI SA Dec
1445 US Markit Mfg PMI Final Dec

 (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu