PRECIOUS-Gold slips from near six-week high as trade tensions recede

* Trump expels 60 Russian diplomats from United States

* Reports China and U.S. quietly working to avoid trade war

(Updates prices, adds analyst comment) LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Gold slipped on Tuesday as risk appetite revived in global financial markets, lifting equities, but the precious metal was not far off a six-week high hit overnight as investors remained concerned about geo-political tensions. Stock markets jumped in response to reports the United States and China were negotiating to avert a trade war and this dented the appeal of gold, seen as a safe haven. The dollar edged up versus a currency basket - making dollar priced gold costlier for non-U.S. investors - though it was not far off a five week low hit earlier as returning risk appetite dented investor appetite for the U.S. currency. "There's going to be a few months of talks before uncertainty around global trade situation can be erased, and in the meantime gold will at times benefit," said Simona Gambarini, commodities economist at Capital Economics. "In the short term we definitely see gains (for gold)."

Spot gold was down 0.6 percent at $1,344.11 per ounce

at 1204 GMT, after touching $1,356.66 earlier in the session, its highest since Feb. 16.

U.S. gold futures for April delivery fell 0.8

percent to $1,343.90 per ounce. Underpinning gold, Moscow said on Tuesday it would respond harshly to a U.S. decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats over a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain, but was still open to strategic stability talks with Washington.

"If the political crisis (between Russia and the West) worsens, gold should remain in good demand, especially as there is also the risk of a trade war. The trade dispute is taking a backseat for the time being today, however," Commerzbank said in a note. Investors were shaken last week after U.S. President Donald Trump moved to impose tariffs on Chinese goods, sparking fears of a trade war between the world's two largest economies. China's net gold imports via main conduit Hong Kong plunged 35.5 percent in February from the previous month, data showed on Tuesday.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest

gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.38 percent to 847.30 tonnes on Monday from 850.54 tonnes on Friday.

In other precious metals, spot silver was down 0.3

percent at $16.59 per ounce after hitting a near 3-week high of $16.80 earlier in the session.

Platinum was up 0.2 percent at $950.40 per ounce, while palladium was 0.2 percent higher at $974.10.

(Additional reporting by Eileen Soreng. Editing by Jane Merriman and David Evans)