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PRECIOUS-Gold climbs more than 1 pct as risk appetite wanes

* Gold climbs to $1,365.23/oz, highest since Jan. 25

* Palladium extends this week's 6 pct rally

* Markets await Fed minutes later in the day

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

(Updates prices, headline; adds comment, second byline, NEW YORK to dateline) NEW YORK/LONDON, April 11 (Reuters) - Gold rose more than 1 percent on Wednesday as escalating tensions in Syria, U.S. sanctions on Russia and the U.S.-China trade stand-off weighed on stock markets and the dollar index. The metal hit a two-week high as appetite for nominally lower-risk assets sharpened. Palladium, which has also benefited from expectations that sanctions on Russia could hurt supply, rose further after climbing nearly 6 percent in the past two days.

Spot gold gained 1.4 percent to $1,358.06 per ounce since Jan. 25. June U.S. gold futures settled up $14.10,

1.1 percent, at $1,360 per ounce. "The safe haven bid, recently with Syria tensions along with the weaker dollar, continues to support gold today," said David Meger of High Ridge Futures in Chicago. That has sparked good demand for gold through products such as bullion-backed exchange-traded funds, said Capital Economics analyst Simona Gambarini. "Gold is benefiting from the risk-off sentiment and because people are trying to hedge against worst-case scenarios." European equities fell after two days of gains as tensions over Syria and U.S. sanctions drove Russia's rouble to a two-year low, while concerns about the prospect of a trade war boosted traditional safety plays at the U.S. dollar's expense. The greenback languished near a two-week low against a basket of currencies. Gold is often perceived as a safe store of value during times of political and financial uncertainty. Markets await clues on the outlook for U.S. monetary policy from minutes of the March meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), due 2 p.m. EDT Wednesday. Tighter monetary policy raises the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. Caught within a $1,300-$1,360 trading range since the end of January, gold needs to break that resistance to make a sustained move out, analysts have said.

Meanwhile, silver increased 1.4 percent to $16.79 an

ounce, earlier reaching $16.87, a near two-month high.

Platinum rose 1 percent to $933.30 per ounce,

touching $941.60, a two-week high.

Palladium increased 1.2 percent at $963.50 per ounce,

earlier reaching $971.30, a two-week high. The metal, more than 40 percent of which is produced in Russia, bounced strongly this week as sanctions against Moscow fed into a technically-driven rebound after the first quarter's 10 percent slide. Although Russian palladium output has not been affected directly, the sanctions have caused enough concern over supply in a market that has been in deficit for a decade to bring some speculative money back in, analysts said.

(Reporting by Renita D. Young in New York and Jan Harvey in London; Additional reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by David Stamp and Chizu Nomiyama)