Gold steadied near a four-month low on Friday, as comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reduced expectations of a near-term rate cut, putting bullion on track for a weekly fall.
Spot gold was unchanged at $1,270.71 per ounce as of 0139 GMT, having fallen to $1,265.85, its lowest since end-December, in the previous session.
Spot gold has fallen 1.2 percent so far this week. US gold futures were steady at $1,271.70 an ounce. The dollar looked set to end the week with a firmer tone on Friday as markets scaled back bets on a US rate cut, though much depends on what jobs data due later in the session says about the health of the economy and wages.
A stronger dollar makes gold costlier for holders of other currencies. Asian share markets were subdued on Friday amid thin holiday trade as investors pared expectations for a US rate cut this year.
On Wednesday the US Fed held interest rates steady with Chairman Jerome Powell further stating there was no need for any readjustment in prices anytime soon and that inflation risks were based on transitory factors.
US worker productivity increased at its fastest pace in more than four years in the first quarter, depressing labour costs and suggesting inflation could remain benign for a while. A slowing global economy, stock market turmoil, delays to interest rate rises and potential US dollar weakness in future are expected to boost average annual gold prices to their highest since 2013, a Reuters poll found.
SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.16 percent to 745.52 tonnes on Thursday from 746.69 tonnes on Wednesday. The total unmatured swap purchase amount will be 100 tonnes in the Turkish central bank's new lira-for-gold swap market, according to a letter it sent to lenders, bankers told Reuters on Thursday.