(Updates prices) * Gold specs raise bullish positions in week to Dec. 17 * Silver hits highest since Nov. 7 * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl By K. Sathya Narayanan Dec 23 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Monday as lingering uncertainties about the trade deal agreed by the United States and China boosted the appeal of safe-haven bullion, while volumes thinned ahead of the holiday season. The spot gold price was 0.4% higher at $1,483.07 per ounce as of 1341 GMT. Earlier, it hit $1,485.13, the highest since Dec. 12. U.S. gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,486.80 per ounce. "We haven't heard anything concrete as far as the trade talk is concerned between U.S. and China ... Nothing has been done yet, just a lot of talks and no action really," said Afshin Nabavi, senior vice president at precious metals trader MKS SA. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that Washington and Beijing would "very shortly" sign their so-called Phase One trade pact. While the two largest economies say they have reached an initial agreement, many questions remain. "The major focus is when and where and which terms will be included in the trade agreement," said Jigar Trivedi, a commodities analyst at Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers in Mumbai. A report that North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un held a meeting of top military officials to discuss boosting the country's military capability also supported gold. Bullion is often used by investors as a hedge against political and financial uncertainty. Gold has gained more than 15% this year and is set for its best year since 2010. Indicative of sentiment towards bullion, holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust , rose 0.3% to 885.93 tonnes on Friday. Speculators also increased their bullish positions on COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to Dec. 17, data showed on Friday. Elsewhere, palladium , which has been boosted in recent months by a supply deficit, rose 0.3% to $1,861.19 per ounce after a sharp decline on Friday, when it erased more than $100 in the session. "Palladium has been very positive for the past few months and the market was overall long than short. The break below $1,900 just triggered a lot of stop (loss selling)," MKS SA's Nabavi said. Silver rose 0.9% to $17.35 per ounce, having earlier touched its highest since Nov. 7, while platinum gained 1.1% to $918.65 per ounce. (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan and Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter and David Clarke)
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