Gold prices edged up in Asian trade Thursday but holdings on the ETF fell marginally.

Gold for immediate delivery was seen trading at $1194.77 an ounce at 12.00 noon Singapore time while U.S. gold futures for December delivery was at $1,196.5 an ounce on the comex division of Nymex.

The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, said its holdings fell to 1,281.834 tonnes by August 4 from 1,282.279 on July 28. The holdings hit a record at 1,320.436 tonnes on June 29.

Analysts said the precious yellow metal edged up on bargain hunting after prices slipped below $1,200 an ounce but firm stock markets were likely to weigh.

However, they said traders await the release of more data from the United States, particularly the payrolls report, which will offer clues on the health of the economy.
The greenback was mostly higher in Asia on Thursday after U.S. economic data beat the market's low expectations and sparked a bout of short-covering, though the overall mood remains bearish into the key payrolls report.

Gold has weakened 5.6 per cent since reaching a record $1265.30 an ounce on June 21 as investor interest in the metal moderated amid signs of improvement in the global economy.

On Wednesday, gold rose, capping the longest rally since November, on speculation that China's plans to relax rules on trading will bolster demand.

Gold futures for December delivery rose $8.40, or 0.7 per cent, to close at $1195.90 on the Comex in New York.

Silver futures for September delivery slipped 14.4 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $18.278 an ounce in New York, after reaching $18.70, the highest price since June 30.

Platinum futures for October delivery dropped 90 cents, or 0.1 per cent, to $1586.20 an ounce. Palladium futures for September delivery declined $6.30, or 1.2 per cent, to $500.15 an ounce.