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Gold dips as U.S.-China trade deal hopes lift risk appetite

Gold bars are seen at the Kazakhstan's National Bank vault in Almaty, Kazakhstan, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Mariya Gordeyeva/File Photo

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

(Reuters) - Gold dipped on Monday to its lowest in more than five weeks as the dollar and equities prices rose on optimism about a possible trade deal between the United States and China, while platinum shed 3 percent as investors took profits from a recent rally.

The world's two largest economies appeared close to a deal that would roll back U.S. tariffs on at least $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, a source briefed on negotiations said on Sunday.

Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,286.94 per ounce at 2:15 p.m. EST (1915 GMT). During the session gold fell as low as $1,282.50, its lowest since Jan. 25.

U.S. gold futures fell for the sixth straight session, settling down 0.9 percent at $1,287.5 per ounce.

"There is a risk-on (sentiment) in the markets with the positive U.S.-China talk, so gold is naturally pulling back on strong equities, strong dollar and good geopolitical news," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could reach a formal trade deal at a summit around March 27, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Global markets cheered a potential deal, as investors headed into riskier assets, dampening demand for gold.

The dollar index measuring the greenback against other currencies rose to a 10-day high. Rising U.S. Treasury yields boosted demand for the currency.

"It seems that investors' appetite for gold has suddenly vanished," ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said in a note. "From a technical point of view, the fall below $1,300 is making space for further declines."

On Friday, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 1.5 percent, the biggest daily percentage fall since December 2016.

Platinum shed 2.5 percent to $835.35 an ounce. The metal remained up more than 5 percent for the year so far.

Palladium, which hit an all-time peak of $1,565.09 last month, was down 1.2 percent at $1,527.01.

Both metals are seeing a technical correction, with palladium still in overbought territory, analysts said, adding the dollar's advances also weighed.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifted its forecast for palladium, expecting it to hit a key $2,000 level this year. The bank said it expects platinum to average $883 for the same period.

Silver fell 0.8 percent to $15.08 per ounce, having earlier declined to a more than two-month low of $15.02.


(Additional reporting by Arijit Bose and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy, Jeffrey Benkoe and David Gregorio)