PRECIOUS-Gold dips as easing trade war concerns support dollar

Diptendu Lahiri

* Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust fell 0.2% on Friday

* Speculators raise bullish COMEX gold bets - CFTC

* Palladium hits record high at $1,695.14/oz (Adds comments, updates prices)

Sept 30 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged lower on Monday, as the dollar firmed on easing fears of an escalation in the U.S.-China trade war after a report that the United States does not currently plan to de-list Chinese companies from U.S. stock markets.

The White House is not contemplating blocking Chinese companies from listing shares on U.S. exchanges at this time, Bloomberg quoted Treasury spokeswoman Monica Crowley as saying on Saturday.

This came after Reuters reported on Friday the U.S. administration was considering de-listing Chinese companies from U.S. stock markets.

"For the short term there is some confusion considering the contradicting headlines we are getting on the trade war," said AxiTrader market strategist Stephen Innes.

"In these situations what investors do is quit their position in equities and switch to bond markets," said Innes, adding that this boosted the dollar and in turn made gold expensive.

Spot gold fell 0.3% to $1,492.30 per ounce by 0418 GMT, after hitting its lowest since Sept. 18 at $1,486.60 in the previous session.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery fell 0.5% to $1,498.80 per ounce.

Meanwhile, ahead of trade talks with the United States, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said on Sunday the two major economies would resolve their trade dispute "with a calm and rational attitude."

"The gold market is looking for clarity on the trade war front while the Federal Reserve narrative has been less dovish," Innes said.

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said on Friday he opposed the central bank's September rate cut and thinks the Fed should "hold firm" on interest rates.

Higher interest rates boost the dollar, making dollar-denominated gold more expensive for buyers using other currencies and reducing investor interest in non-yielding bullion.

"Overall, gold remains stuck in a wider $1,480 to $1,530 an ounce longer-term trading range," OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley said in a note, adding that a trade or some other geopolitical catalyst was needed to break the range.

Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.22% to 922.88 tonnes on Friday.

Hedge funds and money managers raised their bullish positions in COMEX gold and reduced bullish bets on silver contracts in the week to Sept. 24, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

Among other precious metals, palladium was up 0.8% at $1,694.77 per ounce, after hitting a record high at $1,695.14 earlier in the session.

Silver fell 0.8% to $17.40 per ounce and platinum was down 0.3% to $927.68 per ounce. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Subhranshu Sahu)