April 1, 2019 / 10:28 AM / 21 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold edges lower as stocks rally on improved risk appetite

* Gold specs raise net long positions for 2nd week

* U.S. February retail sales data due at 1230 GMT

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Updates prices)

By Sumita Layek

April 1 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Monday as stock markets rallied after upbeat Chinese economic data soothed some concerns about the global economy and boosted risk appetite, although losses were limited by a sliding dollar.

Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,290.16 per ounce by 1148 GMT, after on Friday touching its lowest since March 8 at $1,286.35.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.2 percent to $1,295.40 an ounce. “We have a positive environment in the equity markets so risk is on and that’s a negative for gold,” Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said.

Global stocks surged on strong Chinese factory activity data and signs of progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations.

The dollar index was lower, however, limiting gold’s losses as it makes holding the metal cheaper for buyers holding other currencies.

“We have to look through the noise and at the bigger picture. We still think the global economy is slowing in the 12 to 18 month horizon, especially in the U.S., which should help gold in the longer term,” Menke said.

Gold has gained more than 11 percent since touching its lowest in some 1-1/2 years last August, on a dovish U.S. Federal Reserve and global growth concerns.

Investors are awaiting U.S. retail sales and manufacturing PMI data due later in the day.

Global demand for gold in 2019 will rise to the highest in four years, as higher consumption by jewellers offsets a fall in purchases by central banks, an industry report said on Monday.

Elsewhere, Britain’s exit from the European Union was in disarray after the implosion of Prime Minister Theresa May’s strategy left her under pressure from rival factions to leave without a deal, go for an election, or forge a much softer divorce.

Speculators increased their net long position in COMEX gold for the second straight week in the week to March 26, data showed on Friday.

“Speculative financial investors were caught on the wrong foot recently,” Commerzbank analysts said in a note, adding gold prices had, however, fallen consistently in the meantime.

Among other precious metals, spot palladium was down 0.1 percent to $1,381.55 an ounce, having declined more than 11 percent last week.

Silver fell 0.3 percent to $15.08 an ounce, while platinum was up 0.3 percent to $847.75 an ounce. (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Holmes)

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