* Gold to be headline-driven for the moment - analysts
* Gold specs cut net long position by 23,822 contracts - CFTC
(Recasts, adds quotes, and updates prices) March 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched lower on Monday, from a five-week high hit earlier in the session, on profit-taking and as fears of a U.S.-China trade war eased following reports of negotiations among two of the world's leading economies.
Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,346.01 per
ounce, as of 0836 GMT. Earlier in the session, gold prices climbed as much as $1,350.76 per ounce, their highest since Feb. 19.
U.S. gold futures for April delivery slipped 0.3
percent to $1,346.3 per ounce. "A mild early session bid tone to the bullion during Asian trade on Monday, and was soon extinguished by resting offers around $1,350, as participants looked to take profits ahead of key resistance levels," MKS trader Sam Laughlin said in a note. Market watchers got a breather when Wall Street Journal reported the United States and China have quietly started negotiating to improve U.S. access to Chinese markets.
"Trump and China seem to be narrowing the list of tariffs and it might not be as disastrous as originally thought," said a Singapore-based trader. The United States asked China in a letter last week to cut the tariff on U.S. autos, buy more U.S.-made semiconductors and allow their firms greater access to the Chinese financial sector, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources. News of the U.S.-China talks eased fears of a trade war lifting global shares on the back of higher U.S. stock futures.
Gold is sought as a store of value during times of political and financial uncertainty. Meanwhile, investors continued to closely monitor other developments such as U.S. President Donald Trump's appointment of John Bolton as national security adviser and fresh tensions between Saudi Arabia and Yemen's Houthi militia. The appointment of Bolton, who has previously advocated using military force against North Korea and Iran, last week provoked strong reactions worldwide. "Much of what gold will do this week will be headline-driven, with trade news being front and center," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note. Meanwhile, speculators cut their net long positions in the week to March 20 by 23,822 contracts to 121,838 contracts, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.
In other precious metals, silver climbed 0.2 percent to $16.55 per ounce; while platinum rose 0.3 percent to
$949.80 per ounce.
Palladium slipped 0.1 percent to $976 per ounce.
(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)