* Gold on track for fourth straight week of gains
* Gold expected to retest resistance at $1,299/oz- technicals
* Markets holding back on possible equity rally- analyst
By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
BENGALURU, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Gold prices climbed on Friday as the dollar retreated on expectations the Federal Reserve may pause interest rate hikes if the U.S. economy slows this year, while investors awaited news on progress in the Sino-U.S. trade talks.
Spot gold rose 0.6 percent to $1,294.01 per ounce as at 0729 GMT, heading for a fourth straight weekly gain. The yellow metal is up 0.7 percent so far this week.
U.S. gold futures were up 0.5 percent at $1,294.3 per ounce.
“The weaker dollar and a more dovish Fed are the two most alluring factors for gold,” said Stephen Innes, APAC trading head at OANDA.
“There are concerns for the U.S. economy to slow down, perhaps towards the end of 2019 and into 2020, so the markets are pricing rate cuts.”
The dollar slipped against other major currencies, having rebounded on Thursday from three-month lows helped by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s comment suggesting the central bank is not done tightening monetary policy just yet.
A partial U.S. government shutdown extended into its 20th day and provided little comfort to the U.S. currency, after President Donald Trump threatened on Thursday to use emergency powers to bypass U.S. Congress to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The (gold) market is holding back a little as they are concerned the equity market could rally significantly on trade war truce,” Innes said.
Asian equities inched up to one-month highs, but the rally’s momentum slowed partly as investors sought more clarity on whether the United States and China could make headways on their trade talks.
“Dilemma over the U.S.-Sino trade dispute is still raising eyebrows and needs clarity,” said Sugandha Sachdeva, vice-president - metals, energy and currency research, Religare Broking Ltd.
“Once trade issues are resolved, the dollar is likely to remain suppressed, losing its appeal as a safe haven...Gold on the other hand would benefit.”
Also aiding gold’s upward trend are concerns about weakening global growth, further emphasised by sombre data out of Switzerland and France on Thursday.
“Gold will need some fresh news to trigger prices to break the $1,300 level bar. $1,299 would be a critical level for further upside with mild resistance at $1,310,” said Hareesh V, head of commodity research at Geojit Financial Services.
Spot gold is expected to retest a resistance at $1,299 per ounce, with a good chance of breaking above this level and rising further to $1,311, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
Palladium climbed 0.2 percent to $1,324.90 per ounce, and was up about 2.5 percent for the week.
Silver rose about rose 1.1 percent to $15.73 per ounce, while platinum was up 0.6 percent to $824.60. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair and Shreejay Sinha)