PRECIOUS-Gold steadies near 6-month peak on global economic growth concerns

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(Updates prices, adds fresh comments)

* Gold up about 1.8 percent so far this week

* Platinum on track for first weekly gain in 7

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns:

By Swati Verma

BENGALURU, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Friday nearthe previous session's six-month high as volatility in equitymarkets and concerns about global growth kept interest in thesafe-haven assets firm.

Spot gold XAU= was flat at $1,259.37 per ounce at 1412GMT, after jumping 1.3 percent in the previous session to hitits highest since June 26 at $1,266.40.

U.S. gold futures GCv1 fell 0.4 percent to $1,263.50 perounce. "The risk-off environment and expectations for a slowdownnext year should be supportive for gold," said Craig Erlam, ananalyst at OANDA, adding that a bounce in the U.S. dollar hadtaken the edge off gold's recent rally.

Gold has risen about 1.8 percent so far this week. Themetal, which draws investors during times of political, economicand financial uncertainty, is headed for its best quarter sinceMarch 2017, up 5.7 percent.

"Falling stock markets and higher market volatility appearto be key to whether gold can extend its rally," SocieteGenerale analyst Robin Bhar said in a note.

Gold is trading above its 200-day moving average of around$1,252 an ounce, which analysts said was a bullish signal.

The U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment to retain the core ofits plan to tighten monetary policy has rattled stock marketsand has put pressure on the dollar recently, making bullion moreattractive. MKTS/GLOBUSD/

Although the dollar .DXY gained about 0.4 percent againsta currency basket on Friday, it fell to its lowest in a month inthe previous session. USD/

Holdings of the SPDR Gold TrustGLD , the world's largestgold-backed exchange-traded fund, slipped 0.3 percent onThursday, having hit their highest in four months earlier thisweek. GOL/ETF

Elsewhere, palladium XPD= fell 2.1 percent to $1,238.33per ounce, but was up for the week in what would be its fourthconsecutive weekly gain.

Silver XAG= slid 0.2 percent to $14.73 per ounce, but hasgained about 1 percent so far in the week.

Platinum XPT= fell 0.6 percent to $788.50 per ounce, butwas headed for a weekly gain for the first time in seven. (Reporting by Swati Verma in BengaluruEditing by Jan Harvey and Edmund Blair) ((; within U.S. +1 651 848 5832,outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6356/1298 ; Reuters

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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