(Updates prices) * U.S. GDP data due at 1330 GMT * World stocks hit record peak, dollar at 1-wk high * Palladium on track for fifth straight week of gains * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl By K. Sathya Narayanan Dec 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices trod water on Thursday as equity markets scaled record highs on optimism that the bitter U.S.-China trade war will be resolved soon, while investors awaited U.S. growth data for more cues on the economy's health. Spot gold was steady at $1,478.80 per ounce as of 1244 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were down 0.1% at $1,482.80 per ounce. "There has been a good set of economic data released recently. The equity market is still going strong, and the sentiment is more risk-on," said SP Angel analyst Sergey Raevskiy. "So, people are just prepared to go for some more risky assets, and reduce their gold positions." World stocks touched record highs after the United States and China agreed on an interim deal, while the U.S. dollar rose to an over one-week peak. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday the two countries would sign their so-called phase one trade pact at the beginning of January, and that it would not be subject to any renegotiation. China's finance ministry unveiled a new list of import tariff exemptions for a duration of one year starting Dec. 26 for six chemical and oil products from the United States. "Any news about the deal is better than no news about it... people are still waiting for more to come. It is being considered as the first step for a bigger agreement and it is a step in the right direction," Raevskiy added. Data on Thursday showed the initial U.S. jobless claims report was strong, with applications for unemployment benefits slipping from a more than two-year high. Investors are now awaiting U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) data due at 1330 GMT. "Key factors to watch for gold next year will be the second phase of the U.S.-China trade negotiations, the U.S. election, global monetary policy, and the investor response to these developments," Standard Chartered Bank analyst Suki Cooper said in a note. Elsewhere, palladium gained 0.5% to $1,946.25 per ounce and was on track for a fifth straight week of gains. The autocatalyst metal hit an all-time peak of $1,998.43 earlier this week on a sustained supply crunch, which was aggravated by recent mine closures in major producer South Africa. Silver gained 0.2% to $17.09 per ounce, while platinum eased 0.3%, to $930.50. Both metals however were on track for a weekly gain. (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Jan Harvey)
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