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Gold set for biggest weekly drop in 2-1/2 years on trade optimism

Kitco News

* Holdings in SPDR Gold fell 0.16% on Thursday
* Silver set for steepest weekly fall since October 2016

Nov 8 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched lower on Friday and were on track for their biggest weekly decline in 2-1/2 years as a stronger dollar weighed, while optimism around U.S.-China trade talks dented bullion's safe-haven appeal.

Spot gold was down 0.1% at $1,465.97 per ounce at 1101 GMT, poised for its biggest weekly drop - about 3% - since May 2017. On Thursday, prices fell to their lowest since Oct. 1 at $1,460.75.

U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,466.90.

"Gold is down because the dollar is doing well and some people who bought gold as a safe haven are moving out," ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said. "You will get some profit-taking pushing gold prices lower."

The dollar index was headed for a weekly gain as it benefited from news that China and the United States had agreed to roll back tariffs as part of a potential preliminary pact to end their trade war.

However, some doubts emerged as officials inside and outside the White House opposed the notion of giving up punitive tariffs. The uncertainty limited bullion's fall.

"We are trading on a lot of speculation right now and there's no solid evidence or anything specific," Craig Erlam, OANDA senior market analyst, said, adding gold could move back to $1,440 if a phase 1 trade deal were signed next month.

Meanwhile, European stocks benchmarks retreated from the previous session's highs as conflicting signals from China and the United States on progress made in trade talks deflated market hopes of a near-term truce.

Reflecting sentiment, holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, dipped 0.16% to 914.38 tonnes on Thursday.

"While subdued global economic growth and low interest rates should keep gold prices elevated, positive developments for gold have now largely played out," analysts at Capital Economics said in a note, as it raised its end-2020 gold price forecast to $1,450 per ounce, from $1,350.

Gold prices have risen more than 14% so far this year mainly due to the trade war.

Elsewhere, silver dropped 0.8% to $16.97 per ounce, and was set to fall more than 6% for the week, its steepest drop since October 2016.

Platinum fell 1.16% to $897.94 per ounce, poised for a 5% drop for the week.

Palladium lost 0.6% to $1,791.40 and was headed for a weekly decline after rising for four weeks.

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