PRECIOUS-Gold slips as dollar firms, but trade war fears persist

April 9 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell slightly in early Asian trade on Monday as the dollar firmed on signs of easing tensions between the United States and North Korea, although the bullion was underpinned by continued concerns over U.S.-China trade spat.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,331.51 per ounce as of 0044 GMT. Prices on Friday hit a more than 2-week low of $1,321.16 an ounce before closing 0.5 percent higher.

* U.S. gold futures eased 0.1 percent to $1,335.20 an ounce.

* The dollar index , which measures the greenback against six other major currencies, was up 0.1 percent at 90.185.

* North Korea has told the United States for the first time that it is prepared to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets President Donald Trump, a U.S. official said on Sunday.

* U.S. President Donald Trump predicted on Sunday that China would take down its trade barriers, expressing optimism despite escalating trade tensions between the world's two largest economies that have roiled global markets in the past week.

* The Federal Reserve will likely need to keep raising U.S. interest rates to keep inflation under control, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said, adding that it was too soon to know if rising trade tensions would hit the U.S. economy.

* Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans, one of the Fed's most dovish policymakers, said Saturday that he is optimistic inflation will reach the Fed's 2 percent goal and that slow, gradual rate increases will be appropriate.

* The U.S. economy created the fewest jobs in six months in March as a boost from milder temperatures faded, but a pickup in wage gains pointed to a tightening labour market, which should allow the Federal Reserve to further raise interest rates this year.

* Hedge funds and money managers slashed their net long position in COMEX gold in the week to April 3 and boosted their net short position in silver to a record, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.

* Six construction workers have been killed in an accident

at Newmont's Ahafo gold mine in Ghana, forcing the

surface mine to suspend its operations, a local Newmont manager said on Sunday.

* Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd said on Friday 147,644 ounces was produced in Q1 2018, an increase of 13 percent from the first quarter of 2017.

* Troy Resources Ltd said on Monday that the Karouni operation in Guyana has achieved a record gold production of 21,703 ounces in the March 2018 quarter.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0600 Germany Trade data February 0830 Euro zone Sentix index April 1400 U.S. Employment trends March

(Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)