Gold settles nearly 2% higher on strong Chinese data

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Gold jumped nearly 2 percent on Thursday, with U.S. gold ending above $1,300 an ounce as surprisingly strong rebounds in China's exports and imports sparked economic optimism, lifting bullion's inflation-hedge appeal.

Gold prices also benefited from the U.S. dollar's fall to a seven-week low against a basket of currencies.

Traders said pent-up buying underpinned gold as recent inconclusive economic data and comments from Federal Reserve policymakers raised doubts about when the U.S. central bank will begin reducing stimulus.

Spot gold rose 1.8 percent to $1,309 an ounce, having hit a session high of $1,313.95, $1 above key technical resistance at its 50-day moving average.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up $24.60 an ounce at $1,309.90, with trading volume on track to finish below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.

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