April 18 (Reuters) – Gold traded near its lowest level since end-December on Thursday as indications that the global economy might not be as pain-stricken as previously feared prompted investors to take risks ahead of a slew of economic data.
Spot gold eased 0.1 percent to $1,273 per ounce by 0722 GMT, having fallen to $1,270.99 earlier in the session, its lowest since December 27.
The metal has so far lost about 1.3 percent in the holiday-shortened week, and is on track for a fourth straight weekly decline. Most markets are closed for Good Friday on April 19.
U.S. gold futures lost 0.1 percent to $1,275.60 an ounce.
“What we see here is the moderation of some of the extreme concerns about the global growth outlook,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
“Recent data over the last 10 sessions or so have eased concerns and safe-haven assets have been under significant pressure.”
Among a string of positive economic indications were data from both United States and China that tempered concerns about global growth and took the sheen off safe-haven bullion.
China’s economy grew at a steady pace in the first quarter, defying expectations of further weakness, while trade deficit in the U.S. fell to an eight-month low in February, boosting the country’s economic growth in the previous quarter.
The two counties have set a tentative timeline for the next round of trade talks and aim to conclude negotiations by early June, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday.
“Gold prices continue to sag on better economic data broadly while trade optimism appears poised to finally deliver a deal by early June at the latest,” OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya said in a note.
“The yellow metal is also weaker from momentum on China’s surprising better-than-expected GDP, retails sales and industrial production data.”
Asian shares remain close to a nine-month peak. Focus has now turned to the release of Purchasing Managers’ Indexes (PMIs) for the manufacturing and service sectors in Europe later in the day to provide more cues on the strength of the euro zone economy.
Investors also await the U.S. retail sales data later in the day.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, were at 752.86 tonnes on Wednesday, still around their lowest levels since Oct. 27.
Elsewhere, silver was unchanged at $15 an ounce and platinum dipped 0.1 percent to $881.85.
Palladium slipped 0.8 percent to $1,389.68 an ounce, having jumped 3.9 percent to a two-week high of $1,406.81 in the previous session.
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