By Arijit Bose
BENGALURU (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Monday as investors sought safety as equities slipped after weak Chinese trade data dented risk sentiment and rekindled fears of a global economic slowdown.
Spot gold rose 0.6 percent to $1,294.59 per ounce by 1107 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.4 percent at $1,295 per ounce.
"Some of the exuberance we have seen across risky assets in the last couple of weeks seems to have faded off as we start a new week. With that, we are once again seeing an underlined demand for gold," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.
The metal is often used as a hedge against economic and political uncertainty.
Softening equities and weak trade data from China "highlights that even though the market is hopeful of a (U.S.-China) trade deal, the question remains whether this current momentum towards weaker global economic growth can be arrested."
Chinese exports fell by their most in two years in December, alongside a significant contraction in imports, data showed on Monday, prompting a deceleration in global stock markets and highlighting fears of a sharper slowdown in global growth.
Spot gold has gained more than 11 percent since hitting a 1-1/2-year low in mid-August at $1,159.96.
Investors will now be keenly eyeing developments on trade between the United States and China, with U.S. officials expecting a visit by Beijing's top trade negotiator later this month, after mid-level discussions between the two countries ended on a seemingly positive note.
"Safe haven appeal continues to gleam in the current term as investors deliberate on economic uncertainties and heightened geopolitical risks in 2019," analysts at Phillip Futures said in a note.
Adding to the geopolitical unease, is an impending vote on British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal on Tuesday, along with a stretched partial U.S. government shutdown over President Donald Trump's demand to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Gold has also been considerably lifted by a dovish indication from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who last week reaffirmed that the central bank had the potential to remain patient on monetary policy, downplaying suggestions interest rates would be raised twice more this year.
Among other precious metals, palladium fell 0.4 percent to $1,312.49 an ounce. It hit a record high at $1,342.43 last week.
Platinum dropped 1.1 percent to $801.60, while silver slipped 0.2 percent to $15.57 an ounce.
(Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)