Spot gold topped $1,050 per ounce to mark a record high for the third session in a row on Thursday as the dollar's continued struggle made the precious metal more attractive to investors.

Bullion has gained about 20 percent this year, helped by the dollar's weakness and inflation worries after central banks and governments across the globe poured money into the financial system to help stimulate the economy.

Gold rose as high as $1,054.20 per ounce as of 1.33 a.m. EDT.

The dollar is expected to continue to struggle, which is likely to mean more gains for gold.

Investors are turning toward gold as a hedge in dollar weakness, said Adrian Koh, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Further gains could be on hold for the rest of the day, however, as investors await news that will provide clues to the state of the global economy.

Looking forward today, we have got a couple of key interest rate announcements from the BOE and the ECB and traders are likely to be cautious and will be keen to listen to what they have to say about their respective economies, Koh said.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery were at $1,054.4 per ounce, up 1 percent.

On the physical front, despite gold's rise to another record, sales of scrap were limited in Asia, suggesting that consumers were waiting for more gains in prices before cashing in.

People don't want to sell at these levels. There isn't much scrap coming in, said Ronald Leung, director of Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.

He said there was talk bullion could reach as high as $1,600.

I think we are all bullish, but watch out for a correction.

Dealers also noted light buying by main consumer India, keeping premiums for gold bars steady in the bullion trading centers of Singapore and Hong Kong.

Gold keeps testing new highs, so people have become more cautious. But if the price maintains ... these levels, then I think more scrap will enter the market, said a dealer in Singapore.

Don't be surprised, India is still buying, he said.

India, which accounts for more than 20 percent of global demand for gold jewelry, is in the midst of the festival season, a period when jewelry is traditionally purchased.

Gold's rally has boosted inflows into exchange-traded funds for two days in a row.

The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, the SPDR Gold Trust, said its holdings stood at 1,109.314 tons as of October 7, up 0.8 percent or 8.8 tons from the previous business day, when they also rose.

The dollar was again on the defensive on Thursday, after Alcoa Inc posted a surprise profit, supporting overall bullishness about a global recovery.

Strong oil prices also fanned worries about inflation, providing gold with additional fuel to help the rally.

Oil prices rebounded above $70 per barrel on Thursday, recovering from the previous session when they fell after U.S. data showed a surge in fuel stocks last week.

(Additional reporting by Chikako Mogi; Editing by Michael Watson)