PRECIOUS-Gold prices drop as trade hopes stoke risk appetite

* Asian shares hover near 9-month peak

* Positive data from the U.S. and China lift risk sentiment

* SPDR gold holdings slip to lowest since early-Nov (Updates prices)

April 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices slipped for a fourth straight session on Tuesday as recent upbeat economic data and signs that Washington and Beijing were making headway in a nearly year-long tariff skirmish boosted risk sentiment.

Better economic conditions stoke investors to pivot towards equities that are interest-bearing assets, and shun the non-yielding bullion.

Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,285.39 per ounce, as of 0734 GMT. In the previous session, the bullion dropped to $1,281.96, its weakest since April 4.

U.S. gold futures shed 0.2 percent to $1,288.30 an ounce.

“The main reason what pressures gold is the improved economic data ... for countries such as China for example, things have turned around a fair bit,” said analyst Dominic Schneider of UBS Wealth Management in Hong Kong.

China reported better-than-expected credit and export figures last week that allayed concerns regarding the pace of economic growth.

Jobs data from the United States last week also lifted sentiment, assuaging concerns that the largest economy was losing momentum. Data showed the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a 49-1/2-year low.

Asian stocks were close to a nine-month peak on increasing expectations that the Chinese economy would stabilise.

“Equity markets are trading on an even keel, while optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal continues to be very supportive for risk sentiment completely deflating investor appetite for safe-haven plays like gold,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading and market strategy, SPI Asset Management.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Fox Business Network on Monday trade negotiations between Washington and its Chinese counterparts were “making a lot of progress”.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, on Monday dropped to 754.03 tonnes, their lowest since Nov. 9, 2018.

“The other element that pressures gold is the 10-year (yields) in the U.S., which, despite easing yesterday, has been creeping up a bit from its March lows,” Schneider added.

Markets now await key Eurozone and Chinese data, which will provide further clues on the global economic health.

A Reuters poll has meanwhile suggested that despite China’s first-quarter economic growth likely cooling to the weakest pace in at least 27 years, recent stimulus measures would lift the economic mood in the future.

Among other metals, silver dipped 0.2 percent to $14.97 an ounce, having touching a trough since end-December at $14.81 in the previous session.

Spot platinum gained 0.6 percent to $890.63 per ounce, while palladium rose 0.3 percent to $1,365.05 per ounce. (Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)