(Updates throughout, adds comment) * China's economy registers first quarterly contraction since 1992 * Interactive graphic tracking the global spread: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser By Brijesh Patel April 17 (Reuters) - Gold fell more than 1.5% on Friday as investors opted for riskier assets after news of U.S. President Donald Trump's plans to restart the U.S. economy and promising early data related to a potential COVID-19 treatment. Spot gold was down 1.4% at $1,693.20 an ounce by 0912 GMT, having this week scaled a seven-year peak on heightened worries over the worst recession in decades. "The latest sentiment drift to the positive side and narrative that a plan to return to normal is now afoot are seeing spot gold trading back through $1,700-an-ounce technical support," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen. Global financial markets drew comfort from Trump's plans for a gradual reopening of the U.S. economy, overshadowing concern over data showing China that suffered its worst quarterly economic contraction on record. Also lifting risk sentiment, a report detailed encouraging partial data from trials of U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc's experimental drug remdesivir in severe COVID-19 patients. The pandemic, which has infected more than 2 million people globally and killed 143,744, has battered economies and prompted central banks to roll out a wave of monetary support measures. "While policymakers are eager to limit the economic damage, the reopening of their respective countries could be upended by a swift resurgence of the coronavirus," FXTM analysts said in a note. "The broad rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine is still the necessary catalyst for a return to life as it once was and would be the spark required for a sustained rally in risk assets." Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures from central banks because it is widely viewed as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement. Lower interest rates also cut the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. U.S. gold futures fell 1.3% to $1,708.70, narrowing their lead over London spot prices, signalling hopes for an improvement in strained supply chain logistics that have hampered bullion shipments to the United States to meet contract requirements. In other precious metals, palladium rose 1.1% to $2,176.35 an ounce, silver dipped 2.6% to $15.21 and platinum was down 1.5% at $771.81. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman)
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