PRECIOUS-Gold steadies as trade doubts persist; faces worst month in 3-years

 (Updates prices)
    * Euro zone inflation up 1.0% in November
    * Platinum extends gains for third straight week
    * Palladium notches record high of $1,844.50/oz 

    By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
    Nov 29 (Reuters) - Gold eased on Friday, but was still on
track to post its biggest monthly decline in three years, as
investors sought clarity on the U.S.-China trade developments
after United States backed anti-government protesters in Hong
    Spot gold        eased 0.1 % to $1,456.10 per ounce as of
1252 GMT, while U.S. gold futures         inched 0.1% higher to
    "Gold is trading sideways awaiting clarity on how the
Chinese will react to the latest developments on the
Chinese-U.S. trade deal. At the moment, a risk-off environment
is providing moderate support to gold," said UBS commodity
analyst Giovanni Staunovo.
    Investors were uncertain about the fate of a 'phase-one'
trade deal between the two economies, after Beijing warned the
United States on Thursday it would take "firm counter measures"
in response to U.S. legislation backing anti-government
protesters in Hong Kong.             
    This weighed on risk assets, with European shares down for a
second session, and provided support to safe-haven gold.
    "I am surprised that gold has managed to hold above $1,450
since there is some bargain hunting. This is a good entry level
for the ones who missed out previously," UBS' Staunovo said.
    Gold was, however, down about 3.7% for the month thus far,
which could be its biggest monthly decline since November 2016.
    Investors are scaling back rate-cut bets after robust U.S.
economic growth data on Wednesday set gold on a likely path to
end the week lower for a second straight week.             
    "The market is pricing in a reduced probability of a rate
cut at the December FOMC meeting," Suki Cooper, precious metals
analyst at Standard Chartered Bank, said through email.
    "We expect the Fed to remain on hold in December and
throughout 2020 as long as growth is close to trend and risks of
external shocks are moderate." 
    Inflation rose to an annual rate of 1.0% in the euro zone in
November, according to a first estimate from the European
Union's statistics agency, in the midst of fears of a slowdown
in the global economy.             
    Amongst other precious metals, silver        was up 0.4% at
$16.95 per ounce, and platinum        dropped 0.4% to $898.15,
despite being on track to extend gains for a third week.
    Palladium        was largely unchanged at $1,840.29 an
ounce, and has gained about 3.6% so far this week. The metal,
used largely in the making of catalytic converters, hit a record
peak of $1,844.50 earlier in the session.

 (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru, editing
by Louise Heavens)