Gold traded nearly flat on Wednesday after a successful Spanish debt auction eased fears about the euro zone debt crisis, but the upside is capped as the euro remains under pressure ahead of a longer-term debt sale in Madrid later this week.
Investors brushed off the soft US industrial output and lower-than-expected housing starts data as relief over Spain's finances and a surprise jump in German business sentiment lifted equities and other riskier assets.
"The nervousness around the euro zone has eased a bit, which could help stabilise the euro and support gold prices," said Shanghai CIFCO Futures analyst Li Ning.
But Li added that market sentiment remained cautious ahead of a policy meeting by the U.S. Federal Reserve next week, after comments from the Fed over recent weeks have caused sharp price fluctuations.
Adding to the cautious tone, although Spain managed to exceed the target at Tuesday's debt auction, it was forced to pay a stiff premium compared with a month earlier, reflecting lingering concern about the country's finances and boding ill for a key long-term debt sale on Thursday.
Spot gold was little changed at US$1,649.89 per ounce by 0250 GMT, after touching a one-week low near US$1,634 in the previous session. US gold traded nearly flat at US$1,651.
Buying interest in Asia's physical market was muted, even as a key gold-buying festival in India looms on the horizon.
"People won't want to commit too much at this point," said Ronald Leung, a physical dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong. "There is some buying when prices fall to the US$1,630-US$1,640 level, but the volume shrinks when prices rebound to US$1,660-US$1,670."
Leung said gold bar premiums in Hong Kong were stable at US$1.10-US$1.60 per ounce above London prices.
Spot platinum gained half a percent to US$1,585.44 per ounce after falling to US$1,556.50 earlier this week - the lowest in more than two months.
India, the world's biggest gold consumer, may see platinum imports rise by almost 50 percent this year to 20-22 tonnes.
Spot palladium rose to a two-week high of $662.50 per ounce before paring some gains to US$660.95, up half a percent from the previous close.