October 14, 2019 / 7:48 AM / 9 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold eases as stock markets cheer trade optimism

(Adds details, updates prices)

* Asian shares advance with MSCI's index ex-Japan up 1.1%

* China Sept exports fell 3.2% from year ago

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

Oct 14 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Monday, extending falls for a third session as optimism surrounding U.S.-China trade talks increased risk appetite, while a slight uptick in the dollar also weighed on prices.

Spot gold dropped 0.1% to $1,487.81 per ounce as of 0729 GMT, having shed 1% in the previous week. U.S. gold futures inched up 0.2% to $1,492.20 per ounce.

"Gold is not moving on gold fundamentals, it is moving on whatever is going on with the trade situation," OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley said.

"The trade deal was short on detail, but is still going to be enough to probably support risk, and that will be negative for gold."

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday outlined the first phase of a deal to end the protracted Sino-U.S. trade war and suspended a threatened tariff hike, the biggest step by the two countries in 15 months.

Asian stock markets cheered the news, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 1.1% in light trade.

The dollar index climbed higher from a three-week low hit in the previous session, and traded near multi-month highs versus the yen, also considered a safe-haven asset.

"The positive headline is encouraging. However, we saw the same move before in April .... This time may be different as timing could be the catalyst for both sides to go ahead with the talk without derailing the situation," OCBC Bank said in a note referring to the U.S.-China trade talks.

Tepid data from China brewed concerns that the world's second largest economy was hurt by the ongoing trade spat, as exports in September fell 3.2% from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, markets await Britain and the European Union's talks later in the day, ahead of a summit on Thursday and Friday. Both parties said that a lot more work would be needed to secure an agreement on Britain's departure from the bloc, scheduled for Oct. 31.

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

"We remain optimistic on bullion prospects as central banks enact for monetary-policy easing programmes over looming downside risks in the global economy," Phillip Futures analyst Benjamin Lu said in a note.

Spot gold may fall to $1,446 per ounce, as it has cleared a support at $1,488, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.

Among other precious metals, silver inched 0.3% higher to $17.59 per ounce and platinum dropped 0.3% to $886.69.

Palladium rose 0.2% to $1,702.63 an ounce, hovering close to its record high of $1,705.84 on Friday. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Rashmi Aich)

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