Gold gained on Friday as jewelers across Asia replenished stocks and other physical buyers snapped up bullion ahead of U.S. second quarter GDP data that will offer clues on the direction of the economy.

With worries about the debt crisis in Europe diminishing, gold could attract safe-haven buying as growth in the U.S. economy probably slowed in the second quarter on reduced consumer spending.

Gold hit an intraday low around $1,165 an ounce before bouncing to $1,168.80 by 2:03 a.m. ET, up 75 cents from New York's notional close. Despite the gains, gold was still heading for its biggest weekly decline since early July.

The market is very hot. There's plenty of physical demand and I can't meet the orders. It's from India, Indonesia and Thailand, said a physical dealer in Singapore. Basically we are seeing buying from jewelers and investors from the Far East.

Bullion struck a lifetime high at $1,264.90 in June on worries the debt crisis in Europe was spreading and the U.S. economy was slowing.

But a string of Europe's largest firms issued surprisingly upbeat profit reports on Thursday, bolstering an abrupt renewal of investor confidence in the region after months of debt turmoil and fears for the euro.

On a longer-term basis, it will fuel demand for gold if your economic recoveries have stalled. Equities might not perform so well, said Ong Yi Ling, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

For today, I don't see it going up above $1,175 for the upside. On the downside, I think it should be still supported above the $1,155 level.

U.S. gold futures for August delivery was unchanged at $1,168.4 an ounce after settling $8 higher.

Silver hardly moved, while platinum slipped to track declines in equities and LME copper. Sister metal palladium also dropped after rising 4 percent on Thursday on firm euro and options-related buying.

There was a lack of physical buying in platinum group metals in Asia, with many factories shut for the summer holidays.

But dealers in Hong Kong reported physical buying in gold, which helped pluck prices from Friday's lows. For details on premiums of gold bars in Asia, click

The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD.P), said its holdings were unchanged at 1,282.279 metric tons. The holdings hit a record at 1,320.436 metric tons on June 29.

The Nikkei ended down than 1 percent on Friday after U.S. stocks sagged in volatile trading following weak outlooks from technology companies and downbeat comments from a Federal Reserve official. .T .N

The dollar fell to an eight-month low against the yen on Friday, hurt by selling from Japanese exporters and concerns that U.S. GDP data would add to signs of fading momentum for the U.S. economic recovery.

(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)