Gold held near 11-month highs helped by a broadly stronger euro as the market's eyes turn to monetary policy meetings in Europe.
Gold held near 11-month highs hit earlier this week on Thursday, supported by a broadly stronger euro, with investors waiting for word from Spain on a bailout and central bank monetary policy meetings in Europe.
A mildly positive U.S. private sector employment report on Wednesday also left Friday's key U.S. non-farm payrolls report in sharp focus as markets check odds for an upside surprise.
The euro rose against the dollar, British pound and yen with sentiment bolstered by expectations that Spain will soon seek a bailout for its battered economy.
The European Central Bank is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged at its meeting later on Thursday, while the Bank of England kept policy on hold and its quantitative easing policy intact.
Spot gold was up 0.6 percent to $1,788.54 an ounce at 1100 GMT, just shy of an 11-month high above $1,791 hit earlier in the week. U.S. gold futures gained 0.5 percent to $1,790.20.
"Although we don't expect any further major policy announcements, all the world's central banks are in an easing mode," said Matthew Turner, analyst at Mitsubishi Corp, adding that this was supportive to gold, which has no interest rate.
CAUTION ON PAYTROLLS
Traders are likely to stay cautious ahead of the release of the all-important U.S. non-farm payrolls report on Friday. Data on Wednesday showed a surprise jump in private employment in the world's largest economy.
But the private-sector report did little to alter the view that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low until it sees signs of substantial economic progress. The Fed last month announced a third round of asset buybacks, or quantitative easing (QE3).
"With the Fed now focusing more intensely on US employment data, a poor result would sufficiently re-energise the gold market's attempts to push higher and help get past the $1800 psychological mark," UBS analyst Edel Tully said in a note to clients.
The technical outlook suggested gold would make a brisk move if it could break out of the range of $1,760 to $1,785, Reuters market analyst Wang Tao said.
Investor interest in gold remained buoyed, as holdings of gold-backed exchange-traded funds had inched up to 74.152 million ounces by Oct. 2, just off a record high of 74.288 million ounces hit in late September.
"Gold is well supported as new money keeps entering the market in the new quarter," said a Tokyo-based trader.
Spot platinum was 1 percent higher at $1,697.49, in an eighth straight session of gains, supported by spreading labour strife in South Africa that has already forced a halt in production at top producer Anglo American Platinum's Rustenburg mines, and also affected some gold mines.
Spot silver rose 1 percent to $34.90, while palladium added 2.1 percent to $662.50 an an ounce, chasing the positive tone in platinum. (Additional reporting by Clare Hutchison in London and Rujun Shen in Singapore; editing by Keiron Henderson)