Gold held a three-day losing streak as investors assessed the outlook for US interest rates before monthly payroll data Friday.
Bullion for immediate delivery traded little changed at US$1,279.75 an ounce by 9:06 am in Singapore, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. Prices have retreated in the past three days after gold briefly surpassed US$1,300 earlier this week and reached the highest since Jan 2015.
The metal has climbed 21 per cent this year, helped by speculation that the Federal Reserve will be slow to tighten monetary policy amid global growth risks and after lending rates in the euro area and Japan fell below zero.
Fed officials are highlighting the prospect of a rate increase next month, with the payroll data key for investor assessment of the policy landscape. Holdings in exchange-traded funds rose to the highest since Dec 2013.
Markets are "waiting for clearer signals on whether US activity will bounce back in the second quarter or whether the loss of momentum will extend," Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd said on Thursday.
"Investor interest remains strong" for gold, it said.