Gold hovered near $1,560 an ounce on Thursday, remaining on shaky ground as worries about Greece and the euro zone continued to dominate market sentiment after a European Union summit yielded few practical steps to manage the debt crisis.
Gold, typically a safe-haven option, has been moving in tandem with riskier assets as the euro zone debt problem grinds on. Senior officials have advised European leaders to prepare contingency plans in case Greece quits the single currency, although the EU urged Athens to stay the course on austerity.
Light buying in the physical market emerged when prices fell towards a key support level near $1,530 in the previous session, but selling trickled in as prices rebounded.
Clients are not too interested in entering the market right now, said a Singapore-based dealer. They are worried that if Greece eventually pulls out of the euro zone, the euro will fall and drag gold down with it.
Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,560.50 an ounce by 0700 GMT, after dropping to $1,533.41 in the previous session.
U.S. gold gained 0.8 percent to $1,560.70.
Gold's room on the downside might be limited, as investors with faith in bullion for the longer term will likely return if prices weaken, some analysts argued.
We'll see buy-on-dip type of purchases from investors and even central bank buying if prices fall below $1,530 an ounce, said Li Ning, an analyst at Shanghai CIFCO Futures.
But on the upside gold is still facing a lot of pressure from a stronger dollar.
The dollar index stayed near its highest level since September 2010, as the euro wallowed near a two-year low against the greenback.
China's factories took a hit in May as export orders fell sharply, according to the HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index, adding to concerns about global growth, which is already under threat from the deepening euro zone crisis.
Worries about Greece outweighed concerns about a potential supply shortage in platinum caused by a shutdown of the world's biggest platinum mine Rustenburg. Spot platinum traded flat at $1,418.70, up from a four-month low of $1,400.9 hit on
Spot palladium fell to $583.18 in the previous session, its lowest in nearly six months, before recovering some lost ground to $592.95 on Thursday.
Precious metals prices 0700 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume
Spot Gold 1560.50 -0.58 -0.04 -0.21
Spot Silver 27.92 0.13 +0.47 0.83
Spot Platinum 1418.70 0.45 +0.03 1.84
Spot Palladium 592.95 4.17 +0.71 -9.13
COMEX GOLD JUN2 1560.70 12.30 +0.79 -0.39 19706
COMEX SILVER JUL2 27.89 0.37 +1.33 -0.11 4586
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months