SINGAPORE (Commodity Online) : Gold edged higher in Asian trade Friday as the dollar dropped against major currencies.

Gold for immediate delivery was seen trading at $1,144.40 per ounce at 11.30 a.m Singapore time while U.S. gold futures for February delivery were at $1,144.60 per ounce.

Analysts said prices rose for a second straight day on speculation that the dollar will slide, boosting demand for the metal as an alternative asset.

On Thursday, Gold futures got a lift in defensive buying ahead of any future measures taken by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to rein in speculation in metals trading.

The most active gold contract for February delivery climbed $6.20 , or 0.5 percent, to finish at $ 1143 an ounce while spot gold ended at $1,142.15 an ounce.

Meanwhile, world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, said its holdings stood at 1,113.750 tones as of Jan. 14, down 0.2 percent from the previous business day.

The world's largest silver-backed exchange-traded fund, the iShares Silver Trust, said its silver holdings stood at 9,339.19 tones as of Jan. 14, down 1.6 percent from the previous business day.

The dollar fell against the yen as a drop in December U.S. retail sales and other data reinforced the view the U.S. Federal Reserve will keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged for the foreseeable future.