SINGAPORE (Commodity Online) : Gold prices mixed in early Asian trade Wednesday but likely to advance further as signs of an economic slowdown may prompt investors to boost their holdings of the metal to try to preserve their wealth Spot gold was seen trading at $1231.35 an ounce at 11.30 a.m Singapore time while U.S. gold futures for December delivery fell $1 to $1,232.4 an ounce after rising as high as $1,237.50 on Tuesday.

Analysts said the precious yellow metal is likely to move up as more poor data from the United States likely to spur buying by investors worried about the health of the global economy.

Meanwhile, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust , said its holdings slipped to 1,297.948 tones by August 24 from 1,299.468 tones on August 19. The holdings hit a record at 1,320.436 tones on June 29.

Other precious metals were mostly higher, with silver underpinned by a rise in ISharest Silver Trust holdings and purchases by Indian consumers.

Shares dropped in Asia, with Japan's Nikkei at a 16-month low, as investors sold riskier assets after a series of poor U.S. economic data amplified fears the economy could be sliding into a prolonged period of stagnation or even recession.

On Tuesday, gold futures on the comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange ended moderately higher, reversing earlier losses, after downbeat U.S. existing home sales data underscored concerns over the slow pace of U.S. recovery and drove investors to the perceived safety of the bullion.

The most active gold contract for December delivery rose $4.9, or 0.4 percent, to finish at $1,233.4 per ounce.'

September silver surged 38.6 cents, or 2.1 percent, to settle at $18.378 per ounce. October platinum added $9.1, or 0.6 percent, to $1,517.7 per ounce.