Off The Wire
PRECIOUS-Gold dips on Sino-U.S. trade optimism, firm dollar
* Spot gold dipped 0.4% to $1,555.76 per ounce by 0131 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.2% at $1,556.30.
* A Phase 1 trade deal between Washington and Beijing is due to be signed at the White House on Wednesday, although negotiations on a phase two deal could go on for months.
* U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday,
China's commitments in the Phase 1 trade deal were not changed
during a lengthy translation process and will be released this
* A Wall Street Journal report said on Saturday Washington and Beijing have agreed to having semi-annual talks aimed at pushing for reforms in both countries and resolving disputes.
* Gold prices had gained 18% last year on the backdrop of a protracted trade tussle between the world's top two economies and its impact on global growth.
* Asian shares paused near 19-month peaks ahead of the expected signing on a trade deal.
* The dollar index nudged higher boosted by optimism ahead of a trade agreement finalisation, making gold more expensive for buyers using other currencies.
* Washington on Friday rejected Iraq's request to pull out its troops, amid heightened U.S.-Iranian tensions.
* Physical gold demand improved in India in the second half of last week as domestic prices slipped from a record high, though demand in other Asian regions was dented by a spike in global prices to their highest in nearly seven years.
* SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.86% to 874.52 tonnes on Friday from 882.12 tonnes on Thursday.
* Hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish positions in COMEX gold and trimmed their positions in silver contracts in the week to Jan. 7, data showed on Friday.
* Elsewhere, palladium rose 0.2% to $2,121.95 an ounce. Silver was down 0.2% to $18.05 per ounce, while platinum edged 0.1% lower to $977.04. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0930 UK GDP Est 3M/3M Nov 0930 UK GDP Estimate MM, YY Nov 0930 UK Manufacturing Output MM Nov (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)