Singapore: Gold was little changed in thin trade on Friday, heading for its biggest annual loss in more than 30 years as hopes of a global economic recovery and rallies in equities dent its appeal as an alternative investment.
Bullion has fallen more than 25 percent this year, hurt partly by the long-expected tapering of the U.S. Federal Reserve's bond-buying stimulus programme, which has been a key driver of gold's rally in recent years.
Gold hit an intraday low around USD 1,208 an ounce before standing at USD 1,210.46 by 0256 GMT, steady from Thursday.
The precious metal touched record highs above USD 1,900 in 2011, when a worsening debt crisis in Europe sparked a buying rush.
"Sentiment I think is bearish for next year," said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong, adding that declines in exchange-traded funds holdings could potentially drag down prices.
"Gold may have to test at least USD 1,180 and then after that, USD 1,100. Let's see how the physical demand is and how the economy behaves."
U.S. gold eased 0.2 percent to USD 1,210.20 an ounce.