A Pakistani customer checks gold jewellery at a shop in Karachi, Pakistan. Picture: AFP/ASIF HASSAN
A Pakistani customer checks gold jewellery at a shop in Karachi, Pakistan. Picture: AFP/ASIF HASSAN

Spot gold edged 0.2% lower to $1,288.08 per ounce as of 3.30am GMT, having touched $1,286.44, its lowest since April 5, earlier in the session. US gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,291 an ounce.

“Gold prices have fallen because of improving macro-economic data which is favouring risk-taking,” said Margaret Yang, a market analyst with CMC Markets, Singapore.

Among positive catalysts in the market are a better-than-expected credit and export growth figures from China, a positive kick-off to the earnings season in the US and hopes of a US-China trade-spat resolution, Yang added.

Asian shares started the week on a firm footing while the safe-haven yen hovered near its lowest level in 2019.

Chinese customs data showed on Friday that exports for the country rose 14.2% from the previous year in March, the strongest growth in five months.

Also helping risk-on sentiment, US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday a US-China trade agreement would go “way beyond” previous efforts to open China’s markets to US companies and hoped that the two sides were “close to the final round” of negotiations.

Gold, which is usually considered a hedge against economic and political uncertainty, suffers when risk-sentiment revives.

“The US Federal Reserve hit the brakes hard in first quarter but as data has improved rate cut chances are lower,” Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at Oanda, said in a note.

“If retail sales [due later this week] outperform it would start building a case for an interest rate lift later this year despite the Fed’s dovish turn in January.”

Higher interest rates raises the opportunity cost of holding gold.

However, officials in the joint communique of the IMF’s steering committee said global economy was still not out of the woods with trade disputes and tighter financial conditions still remaining top threats to the pace of global growth.

Speculators increased their bullish wagers in Comex gold in the week to April 9, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

Among other precious metals, silver was unchanged at $14.95 an ounce.

Spot platinum eased about 0.1% to $885.45 per ounce, while palladium lost 0.3% at $1,368.03 per ounce.