Gold held above US$1,644 on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve's meeting on interest rates offered few surprises, but gains in equities and expectations the central bank could do more if necessary to lift the economy may eventually spur buying from investors.
The Fed has already engaged in two rounds of asset purchases totalling US$2.3 trillion, known as quantitative easing, to drive down interest rates and stimulate the economy. The latest QE helped push up commodity prices by providing cheap money to investors who placed it in risky assets.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said US monetary policy was "more or less in the right place" even though the central bank would not hesitate to launch another round of bond purchases if the economy were to weaken.
Gold was little changed at US$1,644.46 an ounce by 0233 GMT, having fallen to a low of US$1,641.15. It hit a low at US$1,623.90 on Wednesday in a knee-jerk sell-off after the Fed disappointed investors who had hoped for another round of asset purchases.
"I think going forward, gold will probably trade in the direction of where the macro-economy is going. If we hear fresh news from the euro zone that the debt crisis is reemerging, then we could see some safe have demand," said Lynette Tan, an analyst with Phillip Futures.
"I am still looking at gold to trade in a range of US$1,600 to US$1,660. For Q2, I am not looking at gold to make large price moves. Recently, physical demand for gold has fallen, especially in India, which means gold will lack the physical support that it needs to move prices higher."
Sales for Akshaya Tritiya, the second biggest gold buying festival in top gold consumer India after Dhanteras, are estimated to have fallen by a half to 10 tonnes this year on high prices and as inflation crimped savings.
Shares across Asia gained on Thursday, retaining positive momentum as the Fed reassured markets that it will keep its very accommodative stance to support growth, and optimism grew over strong corporate earnings after Apple Inc's robust results.
Gold rallied to a 2012 high around US$1,790 in late February after the Fed at the time said it would keep interest rates near zero until at least by the end of 2014.
Investors will also scrutinise efforts by Europe to solve the debt crisis after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi called for a "growth compact" but put the onus on euro zone governments to shape-up their economies.
Bullion raced to a record of around US$1,920 last September on fears the euro debt crisis could stall global growth.
"We think that in the days ahead, focus will revert to the still-festering European debt crisis and the fact that we are in a synchronised global slowdown, likely keeping pressure on the central banks to remain accommodative," INTL FC Stone analyst Edward Meir wrote in a note.
"In addition, European elections, at least from what we have been able to judge thus far, are generating a strong backlash towards austerity measures and a clear desire to pursue more definitive growth policies."
US gold for June added US$3 to US$1,645.30 an ounce.
In the currency market, the dollar floundered at three-week lows against a basket of major currencies, having fallen prey to the Fed's dovish stance on policy.