Gold edges down, US fiscal talks in focus
For the year, bullion is up around 6 percent, on track for a 12th straight year of gains on rock-bottom interest rates, concerns over the financial stability of the euro zone, and diversification into bullion by central banks.
U.S. gold for February slipped $2.40 to $1,658.30 an ounce.
Shares were little changed in Asia on Thursday on investor edginess about the chances of U.S. lawmakers striking a deal to avoid a fiscal crunch by Dec. 31, while the yen stayed under pressure on the prospect of drastic monetary easing and massive fiscal spending.
Investors also await the release of U.S. weekly jobless claims data due at 1330 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 360,000 new filings compared with 361,000 in the prior week.
A weaker yen lifted gold contracts on Tokyo Commodity Exchange but physical trading had slowed to a trickle in Tokyo, where gold bars were offered at zero premiums to the spot London prices.
"It's the end of the year, so the Japanese market is very quiet. There's still a strong selling interest. Gold doesn't fetch any premiums at this moment," said a dealer in Tokyo.
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