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PRECIOUS-Gold climbs as investors flock to safety

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* Gold set for second consecutive weekly gain

* Silver heads for best week since August 2017

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

BENGALURU, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Gold inched higher on Fridayto trade below a more than six-month high hit earlier this week,as concerns about slowing global economic growth and a partialgovernment shutdown in the United States stoked safe-havendemand, although gains in equities capped the upside.

Spot gold XAU= had risen by 0.2 percent to $1,277.75 perounce as of 0448 GMT, and was set for a second straight weeklygain with no end in sight for China-U.S. trade tensions andpolitical uncertainty in the United States.

The precious metal had hit its highest level since June 19at $1,279.06 on Wednesday.

U.S. gold futures GCv1 inched down 0.1 percent to $1,280.2per ounce on Friday.

"People see gold as the only safe haven at this point oftime," said Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilverCentral in Singapore, referring to political and economicupheavals such as the Sino-U.S. trade spat and the partial U.S.government shutdown.

The dollar index .DXY , a gauge of its value versus sixmajor peers, edged lower, having lost 0.5 percent overnight,adding to gold's appeal by making it cheaper for holders ofother currencies. USD/

Financial markets are expecting U.S. growth to slow nextyear as a result of rising interest rates. A measure of U.S.consumer confidence posted its sharpest decline in more thanthree years in December, emphasising the possibility.

In a blow to worsening trade tensions between the world'stwo biggest economies, U.S. President Donald Trump isconsidering an executive order that would bar U.S. companiesfrom using telecommunications equipment made by China's Huaweiand ZTE.

Gold is often used by investors as a hedge against politicaland financial uncertainty.

Meanwhile, Asian stocks inched higher after Wall Streetended volatile trade in the green in the previous session,limiting gold's advance. MKTS/GLOB

SPDR Gold TrustGLD , the world's largest gold-backedexchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.30 percent to787.67 tonnes on Thursday from 790.02 tonnes on Wednesday.

Among other precious metals, silver XAG= rose 0.1 percentto $15.22 per ounce and was on track for its best week since Aug2017.

"It is the end of the year. Investors are looking torebalance their portfolio, so they allocate a bit (of theirfunds) to precious metals, even silver," Lan said.

Platinum XPT= fell 0.3 percent to $793.45, while palladium XPD= dipped 0.4 percent to $1,270.24. Palladium has gainedabout 3 percent this week. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; Editingby Subhranshu Sahu) ((karthikasuresh.namboothiri@thomsonreuters.com; +91 80 67490997 (If within U.S. call 651-848-5832); Reuters Messaging:karthikasuresh.namboothiri.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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