Gold edged higher ahead of the crucial European leaders meet as spot gold hovered near $1601 an ounce in Asian trade Thursday. Gold for immediate delivery was seen trading at $1601.97 an ounce at 1.00 p.m Singapore time while US gold for August delivery was seen trading at $1602.81 an ounce on the comex division of Nymex. Analysts said investors are looking forward to euro zone leaders meeting scheduled for later Thursday and also on the outcome of deficit talks in the US. They said the precious yellow metal may fall after the talks if they come up with any concrete solution to the debt crisis in the continent. Holdings of the metal in exchange-traded products increased 0.1% to 2,122.619 metric tons on Wednesday. Meanwhile Silver prices also inched to touch $40.13 an ounce in afternoon Asian trade as gold-silver ratio stood at 40, well below the average of 55 since the beginning of 2010 but above the April lows near 30 when silver rose close to $50. On Wednesday, Gold futures declined modestly as the US appeared closer to a solution for its wrangling debt-ceiling negotiations and some traders shied away from gold''s recent high prices. Gold for August delivery declined $4.20, or 0.3%, to $1,596.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver also settled lower, but ended well off its lows for the day. The September contract declined 66 cents, or 1.7%, to $39.56 an ounce.