Gold slipped for a second session on Wednesday as a modest rebound in equities dented the metal's safe-haven appeal, while weak physical trade in top buyer Asia also dragged on prices.
Bullion was trading in a narrow $3.52 range, the smallest since late December, as the closure of Chinese markets for the Lunar New Year holiday weighed on volumes. Caution ahead of a key U.S. jobs report on Friday also hurt buying interest.
Spot gold slipped nearly 0.1 percent to $1,253.61 an ounce by 0024 GMT, after dropping 0.2 percent on Tuesday.
Analysts, however, expect gold to gain in the near term as worries persist over global economic growth and capital flight from emerging markets following the U.S. Federal Reserve's move to taper its stimulus.
"The risk-aversion attitude in the market in quite significant and gold should benefit from that in the short term," said Mark To, head of research at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.To also said he does not expect U.S. data and earnings to be strong enough to alleviate fears of economic growth.
Gold has gained 4 percent so far this year after a 28 percent drop in 2013. Bullion is often considered an alternative investment option to risky assets such as stocks. Investor sentiment as measured by inflows into gold-backed funds seemed to be optimistic.
SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 3.89 tonnes to 797.05 tonnes on Tuesday.The fund, which saw over 17 million ounces of gold leave its vaults last year, has not seen any outflows in more than a week. ETF Securities said on Tuesday its gold exchange-traded products saw inflows of $44 million last week - the biggest since August. Physical demand, however, has been weak as top buyer China is closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. Other parts of Asia were also subdued due to the recent gain in prices and weakness in regional currencies. Spot gold prices have risen in five out of the past six weeks. A survey by online precious metals market BullionVault showed physical buying among private investors fell for a third consecutive month in