Singapore: Gold held steady on Monday after its biggest weekly loss in a month, but the metal was still at the risk of falling back below $1,200 an ounce as investors fretted over the impact of a U.S. stimulus tapering.
Prices were supported in thin Asian trading as holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world`s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 5.40 tonnes to 814.12 tonnes on Friday - the first inflow since November 5.
"There seem to be subtle shifts in sentiments for more bullishness after $1,200 was broken," said Joyce Liu, an investment analyst at Phillip Futures Pte Ltd.
"However, the upside is limited due to year-end holiday season and with prices now treading close to $1,200, a break below that level may shift market sentiments back to bearishness."
Spot gold eased 0.1 percent to $1,201.25 an ounce by 0328 GMT. It rose 1 percent on Friday on short covering after losing 4 percent in the previous three sessions.
Gold fell 3 percent last week after the Fed said the U.S. economy was strong enough to scale back its massive bond-buying stimulus, winding down an era of easy money that saw gold rally to an all-time high of $1,920.30 an ounce in 2011.
The metal has fallen nearly 30 percent this year on fears that a scale back of stimulus would hurt its inflation-hedge appeal.
The decline this year is gold`s biggest fall in 32 years.
Physical demand picked up in Asia as prices fell towards $1,200 last week but not to the same level seen during earlier price drops this year. Volumes traded on the Shanghai Gold Exchange on Monday were lower than last week`s as buyers waited to see if prices could drop further. Premiums remained stable at $16 an ounce.
First Published: Monday, December 23, 2013, 14:24