PRECIOUS-Gold edges up as anxious investors await U.S.-China trade talks

Eileen Soreng

* Gold hits $1,516.77/oz, highest since Oct 3

* Spot gold neutral in $1,488-$1,514/oz range -technicals (Adds comments, detail, updates prices)

Oct 10 (Reuters) - Gold edged higher supported by safe-haven demand amid mixed signals over prospects for U.S.-China trade talks set to begin in Washington on Thursday.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,507.49 per ounce, at 0925 GMT, having hit a one-week peak of $1,516.77 early in the session. U.S. gold futures were flat at 1513.20.

"The market is extremely nervous. Everybody is really positive towards the price of gold, but everybody is waiting for some sort of assurance or confirmation on the trade talks," said Afshin Nabavi, senior vice president at precious metals trader MKS SA.

Markets have been on edge for weeks on contradicting signs of a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade tensions, while data pointed to further weakening in global growth.

The South China Morning Post newspaper reported the Chinese delegation was planning to leave Washington after just a day of minister-level meetings, instead of as planned on Friday.

However reports suggesting a possible reprieve on U.S. restrictions on Chinese technology giant Huawei helped sentiment.

If negotiations break down again, by Dec. 15, nearly all Chinese goods imports into the United States -- more than $500 billion -- could be subject to punitive tariffs.

"Investors are gravitating to risk aversion until there can be sustained clarity when it comes to U.S.-China trade tensions... Hence we are seeing elevated prices for gold," said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM.

"If there is significantly positive development, then gold could easily break below $1,500."

Gold prices have risen about 20% since hitting this year's low of $1,265.85 in May mainly on the back of trade tensions and gloomy economic growth outlook.

Gold is often used by investors as a hedge against political and financial uncertainty.

Meanwhile, the dollar weakened broadly against its rivals as it neared a one-week low, further supporting the dollar-denominated gold. European shares also inched down in early trade.

Spot gold looks neutral in a range of $1,488-$1,514 per ounce, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.5% to $17.78 per ounce.

Palladium was up 0.1% at $1,683.81 and platinum eased 0.1% to $890.85 an ounce. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely)