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PRECIOUS-Gold hits over 6-month high 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 climbed to a more thansix-month high on Friday, as concerns about slowing globaleconomic growth and a partial government shutdown in the UnitedStates stoked safe-haven demand, although gains in equitiescapped the upside.

Spot gold XAU= had risen by 0.5 percent to $1,281.08 perounce as of 0713 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 hit its highest level since June 19 at$1,281.39 earlier in the session.

U.S. gold futures GCv1 inched up 0.2 percent to $1,283.2per 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

High volatility in equities has benefited gold, said VandanaBharti, assistant vice-president of commodity research at SMCComtrade Ltd, adding that the metal saw good resistance at$1,272 after which it surged.

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 to a nearfive-month high at $15.342 per ounce and was last up nearly 1percent at $15.34. The metal was on track for its best weeksince Aug 2017.

"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= rose 0.1 percent to $796.74 per ounce, whilepalladium XPD= dipped 0.8 percent to $1,264.90. Palladium hasgained about 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))


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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