May 17, 2013, 08.28 AM IST
Gold edged up on Friday as stock markets paused after rally, but the metal was still on track for its worst weekly decline in a month as investors cut exposure to bullion, sending holdings in exchange-traded funds to the lowest in four years.
Spot gold was up 0.17 percent to USD 1,388.11 an ounce by 0038 GMT, having fallen to a four-week low of USD 1,369.29 on Thursday as renewed liquidation in gold ETFs and the recent drop below the USD 1,400-per-ounce level spooked investors.
US gold for June delivery was little changed at USD 1,386.70.
SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.55 percent to 1041.42 tonnes on Thursday - the lowest in four years.
Premiums for gold bars rallied to all-time highs in Hong Kong and Singapore on Thursday after bullion's steepest drop since its April sell-off fuelled another round of buying that constricted supply.
Gold investment nearly halved in the first quarter as a brighter view of the US economy prompted investors in the West to favour other assets, but Chinese coin and bar demand hit a quarterly record of 109.5 tonnes, the World Gold Council said on Thursday.
Indian gold futures fell 1.5 percent on Thursday, extending losses for a second straight session, to hit their lowest level in nearly a month in line with global markets.
The Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) will launch after-hours trading for Fridays on May 31 as part of its efforts to help its members better manage price risks, the bourse said in a statement on Thursday.
The Nikkei share average fell for a second day on Friday as caution over the recent steep rises continued to spur profit-taking, while a pullback in Wall Street soured investor sentiment.
Global equity markets fell on Thursday after a regional president of the Federal Reserve said the US central bank could begin to ease up on its loose monetary policy this summer, leading the dollar to recover against the euro.
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