in China, which is tipped to have taken over from India as the world's biggest bullion consumer last year, steadied on Thursday after a strong start to the week, dealers said. Premiums on the Shanghai Gold Exchange held at $17.
The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York's SPDR Gold Shares, reported its first outflow of the year yesterday, of 1.5 tonnes, taking its holdings to a five-year low of 793.121 tonnes.
Last year the fund saw an outflow of more than 550 tonnes, the first year its holdings had fallen since its launch in 2004. Commodity exchange traded products suffered their worst year on record in 2013 as investors dumped their gold holdings and joined the equity rally, BlackRock data showed.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Thursday it has cut its 2014 gold price forecasts by 11 percent to $1,150 an ounce, and its silver price forecasts by 21 percent to $18.38.
"While index rebalancing may support gold until 14 January, we see limited support to prices beyond that," it said. "Our continued bearish view is driven by the challenging macro-economic environment, which is best captured by rising U.S. 10-year rates and a persistent lack of inflation pressures."
Among other precious metals, Silver was up 0.2 percent at $19.54 an ounce, while spot platinum was down 0.25 percent at $1,410 and spot palladium was up 0.1 percent at $733.90.
Platinum's premium over gold held near Wednesday's 3-1/2 year high of nearly $190 an ounce. The white metal traded at a historically unusual discount to gold through much of 2011 and 2012 as gold soared to record highs, but has since recovered.