Gold regained some strength on Wednesday on bargain hunting after prices dropped about 2 percent in the previous session, but a firmer US dollar is likely to cap gains after the Federal Reserve vowed to keep interest rates low until 2014.
Investors could still ditch gold in favour of the dollar after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke offered no clues on whether there will be another round of monetary easing, a factor which effectively reduces bullion's safe-haven appeal.
Gold added US$1.21 to US$1,675.96 an ounce by 0330 GMT after falling to a low of US$1,661.99 on Tuesday, its weakest since late January. Gold rose to a record of around US$1,920 in September on fears the euro debt crisis could stall global growth.
"Gold is just caught in a downdraft again after Bernanke didn't really talk about quantitative easing. But there is still this deep-seated theme of central bank buying and strong retail demand from emerging Asia, particularly China," said Nick Trevethan, a senior commodity strategist at ANZ in Singapore.
"The bottom of the market is about US$1,650 at the moment, but we won't rule out another stab at resistance at US$1,700. Platinum is now trading at a premium again to gold for the first time since September. That long-standing discount is unprecedented."
Platinum rose S$10.31 an ounce to US$1,691.74 an ounce.
Platinum gained on worries about supply following a month-long stoppage at the world's second-largest producer Impala Platinum's largest facility, which the company said cost nearly 200,000 ounces in production and would probably cut deliveries in April by as much as 50 percent.
US April gold extended losses, falling about 1 percent to US$1,676.40 an ounce, after US economic data boosted investors' risk appetite, while reduced expectations for further monetary easing by the Fed underpinned the dollar.
The Fed said the economy was "expanding moderately," though growth still faced significant downside risks. The assessment of the economy's expansion was unchanged from the Fed's January statement.
Investors are now looking to the Fed's policy meetings in April and June for decisions about any new directions for policy.
The dollar was broadly firmer on Wednesday, having hit a seven-week high against a basket of major currencies as prospects for further easing by the Fed faded in the wake of more upbeat US data.
Data in the United States once again indicated a slowly improving domestic economy, as retail sales recorded their largest gain in five months in February despite rising gasoline prices.
"Gold has been caught in this kind of range for too long. If it continues like this, we will all turn into stones here," said a physical dealer in Singapore.
"Personally, I believe the last round of sell down has washed out the long bullish stakeholders, while those who are interested in taking new positions are not doing so because they expect the price to go even lower."
In equities, the Nikkei climbed to a seven-month high on Wednesday, boosted by Wall Street gains after the Fed upgraded its US economic outlook, while Tokyo blue chips received a further lift from the softer yen.