Gold prices edged lower on Thursday, pressured by a steady dollar, while investors attempted to navigate mixed signals from Federal Reserve officials on interest rate hike and awaited more US economic data to gauge inflationary pressures.
Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at USD 1,774.32 per ounce by 04:52 GMT. US gold futures fell 0.5 percent to USD 1,774.40.
The dollar index held firm below an 11-week high against its rivals.
"With a lack of clear direction and contradictory themes coming from Fed officials and the news headlines, expect gold to continue its choppy range-bound trading," Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA said.
"The market remains nervous about earlier lift-off entrenched inflation type headlines and so gold will remain a sell on rallies into the end of the week."
Two Fed officials on Wednesday said that a period of high inflation in the United States may last longer than anticipated, a day after Fed Chair Jerome Powell downplayed inflation worries and signalled interest rates would not be hiked too quickly.
However, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic expects interest rates will need to rise in late 2022 as inflation is well above Fed's 2 percent target.
Gold is often seen as a hedge against inflation, though a rate hike by the Fed will increase the opportunity cost of holding bullion and dull its appeal.
Investor focus has now shifted to US producer price inflation data due on Friday, apart from jobless claims expected later in the day. US non-farm payrolls are due next week.
Spot gold is biased to downside and may test a support at USD 1,769 per ounce, a break below which could open the way towards the range of USD 1,734-USD 1,744 range, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
Silver was steady at USD 25.87 per ounce, palladium was flat at USD 2,613.16. Platinum eased 0.3 percent to USD 1,080.56.
First Published: IST