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PRECIOUS-Gold, silver eye best month in over 3 years

Asha Sistla

* Silver eyes biggest monthly percentage gain since June 2016

* Gold up nearly 8% so far this month (Adds comments, details, updates prices)

Aug 30 (Reuters) - Gold and silver were poised for their best month in more than three years as fears of a global recession and uncertainty on U.S.-China trade relations drove investors to safe havens, although a slight recovery in equities curbed gains on Friday.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,529.17 per ounce at 11:04 a.m. EDT (1504 GMT), but has gained nearly 8% so far this month, which would be its biggest monthly gain since June 2016.

U.S. gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,538.30.

The market is awaiting news on the trade front, said Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst at Standard Chartered Bank.

"At the moment, the gold market is focused on impact in terms of global growth and whether we'll continue to see central banks around the world easing monetary policy," Cooper added.

Chinese and U.S. trade negotiating teams are maintaining effective communication, a day after both sides discussed the next round of in-person negotiations in September, China's foreign ministry said on Friday.

On Thursday, China's commerce ministry said a September round of meetings was being discussed by the two sides, but added it was important for Washington to cancel a tariff increase.

Positive signs on the trade front also lifted world stocks to a one-week high, limiting bullion's upside.

"Gold will have a very high beta to any reduction in trade tensions given that they have driven so much of its rally," OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley wrote in a note.

Escalation in the trade war between the world's biggest economies and heightened fears over a global downturn contributed to a rise of more than $100 for gold in August.

A recent inversion of the U.S. yield curve, where short-dated yields are running above long-dated ones, has also unsettled investors as it often precedes a recession.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central bank are widely expected to cut rates next month to stimulate their economies.

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.8% to $18.38 per ounce, on track for its biggest monthly percentage gain since June 2016, gaining 13% so far in August.

"Silver will be volatile going forward and is more likely to come under pressure when we see prices rising given that the industrial picture looks a little bit weak going forward," Standard Chartered's Cooper said.

Meanwhile, consumers in top Asian hubs sold their physical gold holdings this week to cash in on high prices with many opting for cheaper silver.

Spot platinum gained 2.2% to $936.02 per ounce, holding near a 16-month high while palladium jumped 4.3% to $1,538.55 per ounce after hitting a one-month peak of $1,504.71 earlier. (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea Ricci)