Gold prices eased in Asian trade Thursday mainly after its safe haven demand dropped as Europe debt crisis lost momentum due to a government bond sale in Portugal.

Spot gold was seen trading at $1386.94 an ounce at 12.30 p.m Singapore time while gold for February on the comex was also little changed at $1,386.30 an ounce.

Palladium for immediate delivery gained to the highest level since March 2001. The precious metal gained as much as 0.8 percent to $817.25 an ounce, the highest level since March 2001, while cash platinum fell 0.3 percent to $1,796 an ounce. The metals are used in pollution-control devices as well as jewelry.

Meanwhile immediate-delivery silver was little changed at $29.6525 an ounce.

Analysts said the precious yellow metal is likely to ease further despite demand from jewelers and investors picked up in India and China, leading to tighter stocks for gold bars in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The dollar traded little changed against a basket of six currencies after slumping 1 percent Wednesday. The euro fetched $1.3121 in Tokyo from $1.3131 Wednesday, when it reached $1.3145, the highest level since Jan. 6.

On Wednesday, gold futures on the comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange edged higher, marking the third straight rise this week, as concerns over the European sovereign debt crisis and increasing demands for physical gold continued to bolster the market.

The most active gold contract for February delivery gained $1.5 , or 0.1 percent, to close at $1,385.8 per ounce.

Silver futures for March delivery crept up 4.6 cents, or 0.16 percent, to $29.545 per ounce. Meanwhile, April platinum also hiked $30.8 per ounce to $1,801.1 a barrel.


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