Wholesale prices for gold investment bars struggled just above $1,600 per ounce in London on Thursday, after dipping below that level for the first time in a week as the US Federal Reserve left monetary policy unchanged yesterday.
"Immediate QE is off the table," Reuters quotes Frank McGhee, chief precious metals trader at Chicago's Integrated Brokerage Services.
"I will probably not be surprised to see them not do anything in September."
The Bank of England today followed the US Fed in leaving UK policy unchanged in its midday announcement. The European Central Bank was also expected to make no change to its record-low rates of 0.75% per year.
Stock markets meantime ticked higher, while crude oil held onto a sharp rally but major-government bond prices also rose.
Silver prices ticked around $27.50 per ounce after hitting their own one-week low versus the dollar.
"Increased or decreased prospects of [central-bank] intervention seem to be the rationale for any move in precious metals at the moment," says a London analyst in a note.
Ahead of Wednesday's Fed decision, "Gold's $50 gain since Mario Draghi's pledge to 'do whatever it takes' last week suggested high expectations were priced in," he adds.
Italy's prime minister Mario Monti yesterday told reporters that a banking license for the European Stability Mechanism "will in due course occur" – meaning that the €500 billion ($615bn) bail-out fund could buy government debt using money borrowed from the European Central Bank.
But "a banking license for the ESM rescue fund is absolutely not our way," said German spokesman Georg Streiter after a cabinet meeting in Berlin.
German Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann – a member of the ECB meeting together with the 16 other national Eurozone central bank heads today – is also against such a move.
"If the ECB doesn't do something today, there will be disappointment," reckons Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi's precious metals analyst Matthew Turner, speaking to CNBC.
"But they will have to do something at some point. The situation...will force them," says Turner, pointing to support for gold investment prices at the June and July lows around $1,550 per ounce.
Back in Washington, and where the Federal Reserve's June statement said "The Committee is prepared to take further action as appropriate," this week's press release said it will "will provide additional accommodation as needed."
The dollar rose fast on the "no change" decision against the European single currency, but gave back most of its gains by Thursday lunchtime in London to trade at $1.228 per euro.
"Gold prices have dropped in the aftermath of every [Fed] meeting this year with the exception of January," said a note from bullion-bank and London market-maker HSBC's precious metals team last night.
Just as on Wednesday this week, "The bulk of losses then were pared or reversed in late session trading the same day."
Over in Asia, the Bank of Korea said today its gold investment increased by 16 tonnes in July, the third such rise in a year. That took gold holdings at the world's 7th largest central bank to 70.4 tonnes, equal to 0.9% of its total reserves – up from 0.1% only five years ago.
Central banks globally hold an average 1.4% of their reserves in gold investment bars, according to data from market-development organization the World Gold Council.