WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Gold prices were flat to slightly lower on Thursday and the dollar index held firm near its best level since Dec. 17 as a two-day conference kicked off in Beijing to help resolve simmering trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
Spot gold was little changed at $1,306.29 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were down half a percent at $1,308.75 per ounce.
The dollar was a tad higher, a day after data showed U.S. consumer prices remained unchanged for a third straight month in January, giving the Federal Reserve enough time to evaluate the effects of its prior rate hikes.
Trade talks remain in focus, with investors hoping for a breakthrough in the trade impasse between the world's two largest economies after U.S. President Donald Trump said the talks with China were 'going along very well'.
On the data front, Chinese exports and imports data for January easily topped expectations.
Chinese exports rose 9.1 percent year-on-year in January, defying economists' expectations for a 3.2 percent fall.
Imports fell 1.5 percent year-on-year, which was much smaller than the 10 percent slump economists had forecast.
'The January trade data were much stronger than anticipated but seasonal volatility caused by annual shifts in the timing of Chinese New Year make it difficult to get a good grip on underlying trends at this time of year,' Capital Economics economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said.
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