Wires

PRECIOUS-Gold slips from 2-month high on profit-taking; eyes best week in 4 months

Asha Sistla

months@ (Updates prices and adds comments)

* Bullion on track for best week in over four months

* SPDR Gold holdings rise to highest since Nov. 29

* Silver poised for best week since late August

Dec 27 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased from a near two-month high hit earlier on Friday as investors booked profits amid thin trade in a holiday lull, but the metal was still on course for its biggest weekly gain since early August.

"It is the last trading day of the week and we are expecting some winding up of positions. We can't say fundamentals are responsible and it's just healthy profit-booking," said Vandana Bharti, assistant vice-president of commodity research at SMC Comtrade. Gold prices rose to their highest since early November at 1,513.88 earlier in the session and has gained over 2% so far this week, the most since Aug. 9. "It is a combination of things happening here - there's risk hedging in the market ahead of the year-end, we broke $1,485 which likely triggered stop-loss buying and pushed gold upto $1,500," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA. Bullion is also on track to register its best year since 2010, gaining nearly 18% so far this year, owing to a 17-month-long tariff war between the world's top two economies. "Phase one deal is already done, but how it will materialise is a matter of concern. They have cancelled further imposition of import duty but they didn't talk about the tariffs already imposed on U.S. and China," SMC Comtrade's Bharti added. Meanwhile, news that Russia could consider a part-investment of its National Wealth Fund in gold prevented the precious metal from falling further. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Tuesday he saw investment in the metal as more sustainable in the long-term than in financial assets. "If Russia starts holding gold, being one of the biggest suppliers to the market, that would significantly dampen supplies. This is a significant macro driver," said Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader. Indicative of investor interest in bullion, holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold

29.

was on track for its best week since late August.

(Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Subhranshu Sahu and Louise Heavens)