SINGAPORE (Commodity Online) : Gold prices remain higher in Asian trade Thursday a day after the WGC said regional giants India and China were likely to provide the main thrust to demand growth this year.

Gold for immediate delivery was seen trading at $ 1239.47 an ounce at 11.30 a.m while U.S. gold futures for December delivery were barely changed at $1,241.4 an ounce on the comex division of Nymex.

Analysts said the precious metal is likely to move further on persisting worries that the U.S. economic recovery was stalling likely to drive the metal to new highs. Gold struck a lifetime high around $1,264 in June.

Recent poor economic data from the United States stoked fears of a double-dip recession, which prompted some investors to ditch stocks and shift to bullion.

The World Gold Council said in its quarterly demand trends report that India and China were likely to provide the main thrust to demand growth this year and predicted investment demand would stay strong

Silver also climbed to its highest level in nearly two months as its cheapness versus other precious metals attracted bargain buying. Platinum group metals held near New York levels ahead of the release of U.S. initial jobless claims data.

Meanwhile, holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, the SPDR Gold Trust , jumped nearly 13 tones last week, its biggest one-week climb since early June.

The U.S. dollar was under pressure on Thursday after U.S. data the previous day heightened fears the world's biggest economy was at risk of another downturn, while a weaker yen spurred buying on TOCOM gold futures

On Wednesday, gold rose for a second day to an eight-week high above $1,240 an ounce, as investors turned to bullion as a safe haven after bleak US new home sales and durable goods data stirred double-dip recession worries.

Spot gold was at $1,240.80 an ounce and US gold futures for December delivery settled up $7.90 at $1,241.30, while gold priced in euros and sterling also hit multi-week highs.