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Spot gold fell 0.13 percent to $1,280.30 an ounce at 1:51 p.m. ET. U.S. gold futures settled $4.20 lower at $1,279.80.
“I think the market doesn’t believe, at least yet, that there’s a case for gold to go above $1,300 ... The dollar is still relatively strong,” said Philip Newman, director at Metals Focus.
Gold still faces short-term headwinds, Newman said, adding that the metal is only one of the beneficiaries of renewed interest for safe havens from market volatility.
A stronger U.S. dollar, another refuge for investors, makes gold more expensive for holders of other currencies. The dollar index was up 0.52 percent against a basket of currencies on Thursday.
Meanwhile European shares firmed, helped by gains in technology stocks.
The ECB left euro zone interest rates firmly in sub-zero territory but investors were waiting to see how much concern Draghi shows at his 1330 GMT news conference after a blizzard of glum data.
“The macro-economic backdrop is more positive for gold, which we think will continue to benefit from safe-haven demand this year,” analysts at Capital Economics said in a note, and forecast gold prices at $1,350 by end-2019.
“Investor inflows look set to continue given our expectation of further falls in global equity markets and slower economic growth.”
Gold prices have gained more than 10 percent since touching 1-1/2-year lows in mid-August, mainly because of dampened risk sentiment amid fears of a global slowdown, expectations of a pause in U.S. interest rate hikes and a prolonged government shutdown in the United States.
White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said in a CNN interview that the U.S. economy could register zero growth in the first three months if the partial government shutdown lasts the whole quarter.
Spot gold could retest support at $1,278 an ounce, a break below which could cause a loss to the next support at $1,266, said Reuters analyst Wang Tao.
Among other metals, palladium, which hit a record high of $1,434.50 an ounce last week on low inventories and rising demand, was down 2.15 percent at $1,318 per ounce.
Silver fell 0.53 percent at $15.27 per ounce and platinum rose 0.31 percent to $796.50.