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PRECIOUS-Gold holds ground above $1,500 on trade tensions

K. Sathya Narayanan

* Gold up 4.3%, Silver gains about 5% so far this week

* Dollar heading for first weekly decline in four

* SPDR Gold holdings up 1.8% so far this week (Adds comments, updates prices)

Aug 9 (Reuters) - Gold was on course for its biggest weekly gain in more than three years on Friday as it held above $1,500 an ounce on heightened trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,502.57 per ounce at 0847 GMT, after it surpassed $1,500 for the first since April 2013 earlier this week.

Bullion has risen 4.3% so far this week, and about 17% for the year, gaining more than $100 in the past week.

U.S. gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,514.30 an ounce.

"The trade spat is driving the market crazy. We don't rule out technical corrections, but $1,500 is now the new normal unless trade relations take a turn in a right direction," said Jigar Trivedi, commodities analyst at Mumbai-based Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers.

Investment demand and a dovish policy stance by central banks around the globe are providing additional support to gold prices, Trivedi added.

The central banks of New Zealand, Thailand and India stunned markets with a series of interest rate cuts, pointing to policymakers' dwindling ammunition to fight a downturn.

Federal funds futures implied traders saw a 69% chance of at least 25 basis-point rate cut by the U.S. central bank this September. The Federal Reserves cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2008 the previous week.

Lower interest rates tends to boost gold as it reduces the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and weighs on the dollar.

The dollar was headed for its first weekly decline in four, adding to gold's appeal.

On the technical front, there is "initial resistance around $1,530 but do not rule out a move toward $1,600 if the current expectations of lower interest rates are reinforced or even confirmed by central banks through actual interest rate cuts," said Alexander Zumpfe, a precious metals trader at Heraeus.

Meanwhile, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.7% to 839.85 tonnes on Thursday, but has gained about 1.8% this week and about 7.3% in 2019.

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.7% to $17.01 per ounce and eyed a weekly gain of nearly 5%. Platinum gained 0.2% to $862.30, while palladium climbed 0.5% to $1,428.03 an ounce. (Reporting by Arpan Varghese and K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith)