PRECIOUS-Gold slips as Asian equities rise ahead of Sino-U.S. trade deal

 (Updates prices)
    * U.S., China due to sign trade deal on Wednesday
    * SPDR Gold holdings fall to lowest since Sept. 16 on Friday
    * Gold specs raise bullish positions in week to Jan. 7

    By Asha Sistla
    Jan 13 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell on Monday as Asian
stocks touched 19-month highs ahead of the planned signing of an
interim trade deal between Washington and Beijing, which has
encouraged investors to plough back into riskier assets.
    Spot gold        dipped 0.6% to $1,552.42 per ounce by 0756
GMT. U.S. gold futures         fell 0.4% to $1,553.30.
    Asian shares rose to new 19-month highs ahead of the Phase 1
deal due to be signed at the White House on Wednesday.
    "Risk (sentiment) looks pretty good in Asia, equity inflows
are coming (along) nicely, built around this trade narrative and
that's depressing gold more than the global risk-on move," said
Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader.
    "There is dollar appetite in the market ... which is also
depressing gold right now."
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday 
China's commitments in the Phase 1 trade deal were not changed
during a lengthy translation process and will be released this
    Further easing concerns, a Wall Street Journal report said
on Saturday Washington and Beijing had agreed to semi-annual
talks aimed at pushing for reforms in both countries and
resolving disputes.             
    Gold prices gained 18% last year on the backdrop of the
protracted trade tussle between the world's top two economies.
    The dollar        firmed ahead of the deal signing, making
gold more expensive for buyers using other currencies.       
    Gold prices gained nearly 0.7% last week in volatile trading
amid heightened U.S.-Iran tensions after the U.S. killing of a
top Iranian commander in Baghdad and on slower-than-expected
U.S. job growth in December.                         
    The United States imposed more sanctions on Iran on Friday
and vowed to tighten the economic screws if Tehran continued
"terrorist" acts or pursued a nuclear bomb.                  
    "The precious metal, though easing off previous highs over
de-escalating tensions (U.S.-Iran), will remain of key
importance as markets stay cautious over geopolitical happenings
in the current term," Benjamin Lu, an analyst at Phillip
Futures, said in a note.    
    Spot gold is biased to break a support at $1,546 per ounce
and fall towards $1,524, according to Reuters technical analyst
Wang Tao.         
    Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded
fund, SPDR Gold Trust      , fell 0.9% to 874.52 tonnes on
Friday, their lowest since Sept. 16.          
    Speculators increased their bullish positions in COMEX gold
contracts in the week to Jan. 7.        
    Elsewhere, palladium        edged 0.1% lower to $2,116.54 an
ounce. Silver        was down 0.7% to $17.97, while platinum
       fell 0.8% to $970.55.

 (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh
Kuber, Subhranshu Sahu and Raju Gopalakrishnan)