April 16, 2019 / 10:05 AM / 2 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold hits near 3-month low as easing growth concerns lift equities

* Positive economic data from U.S., China lift sentiment

* Asian shares hover near 9-month peak

* SPDR gold holdings slip to lowest since early Nov (Updates prices, adds comment)

By Sethuraman N R

April 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell to a near 3-month low on Tuesday as positive economic data from major economies stoked risk appetite, weakening demand for safe-haven bullion.

Spot gold was down 0.6 percent at $1,279.67 per ounce, at 1245 GMT, after touching its lowest since Jan. 24 at $1,277.84.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.7 percent to $1,282.60

“It’s a question of risk sentiment in financial markets. Equities are up, which is putting pressure on gold, traditionally seen as a safe-haven,” Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said.

“We’ve seen positive data out of China lately. That really supports the view of an improvement in the Chinese economy as well as the global economy, in turn supporting risk sentiment.”

China reported better-than-expected credit and export figures last week that allayed concerns regarding the pace of economic growth.

Jobs data from the United States last week also assuaged concerns that the world’s largest economy was losing momentum, with the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits dropping to a 49-1/2-year low.

Stock markets inched higher as the reassuring Chinese economic data helped investors shrug off disappointing bank earnings in the U.S., while volatility in European markets took another leg lower.

Positive news on U.S.-China trade talks as well as the absence of any large global geo-political issues have taken some sheen off bullion, analysts said.

“There are presently no major geopolitical issues in the world marketplace to rattle the markets and trader and investor attitudes remains generally upbeat,” said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst with Kitco Metals in a note, adding that gold bulls had lost their overall near-term technical advantage.

Gold prices were trading below key technical support levels including the psychologically significant $1,300 mark, seen as negative bias, analysts and traders said.

“The yellow metal now sits firmly underneath the 100-day moving average at $1,289, with the figure now an important pivot,” MKS PAMP Group said in a note.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, on Monday dropped to their lowest since Nov. 9, 2018.

Among other metals, silver dipped 0.6 percent to $14.91 an ounce, having hit $14.81, its lowest since Dec. 26, in the previous session.

Spot platinum gained 0.2 percent to $887.16 per ounce while palladium rose 0.2 percent to $1,364. (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Kirsten Donovan)

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