Gold edged higher on Thursday to trade below one-month highs, helped by a record low dollar, but the market was disappointed with the metal's slow upward move.
It has been tending to go a little bit higher in dollar terms, but there is not a huge amount of buying interest out there, John Reade, head of metals strategy at UBS Investment Bank, said.
What we haven't seen so far is investors coming into the market and buying gold in order to profit from dollar weakness. Gold has potential to trade higher, but it will only do so when people are prepared to buy it. We also know that this is a bad time of the year for physical demand.
Spot gold was quoted at $663.55/664.15 an ounce by 1017 GMT, up from $660.30/660.90 late in New York on Wednesday, when it rose to its highest in a month at $665.90.
The dollar hit a record low against the euro and a multi-year trough versus a basket of major currencies as fears persisted that problems in riskier U.S. credit markets could spread to the wider economy.
Some analysts remained bullish.
Although further strong resistance is expected around $665-$668, the ongoing weakness in the dollar is likely to renew investor diversification towards other currencies and also commodities, said James Moore, analyst at TheBullionDesk.com.
The long-term outlook for gold was positive.
A Reuters poll suggested on Wednesday that average gold prices would jump nearly 10 percent this year and gain further in 2008 on a weaker outlook for the dollar, less aggressive sales by central banks and physical demand.
The global poll of 33 analysts and traders conducted over the past month arrived at a median price for gold of $670, up from an average of $612.10 in 2006 and about 3 percent higher than the figure from a poll in January.
In other metals, platinum rose to $1,305/1,310 an ounce from $1,298/1,305 in New York, supported by news of a labor dispute in South Africa.
South African trade unions declared a dispute against the world's biggest platinum producer, Anglo Platinum Ltd., on Wednesday after it refused to increase its wage offer.
Anglo Platinum, majority owned by mining giant Anglo American Plc, accounts for around 40 percent of global platinum production. The wage talks cover around 39,000 workers.
Prices might shift higher in the next month or so, depending on the outcome of difficult wage talks in South Africa. These pay talks, held every two years for most companies, tend to rumble on. An outright strike is at this stage remote, but if it happened it could be bitter, Fortis Bank said in a report.
Palladium edged up to $367/368 an ounce from $365.55/369.55 in New York, while silver rose to $12.91/12.95 an ounce from $12.87/12.90.