The US dollar gold price eased lower Friday morning in London, falling to $1,767 an ounce, 0.7% down on the start of the week, while stock markets also ticked lower and commodities were broadly flat.
The silver price fell below $34 an ounce, before trading sideways until lunchtime in London.
"For days now the gold price has been hovering in a narrow trading range around the $1,770 per troy ounce mark," says today's Commodities daily note from Commerzbank.
"It clearly lacks the necessary impetus to make further gains just now, the debt crisis in the euro zone having not escalated any further and the supply risks in South Africa already being largely priced in."
"Investors are very cautious," agrees Andrey Kryuchenkov, analyst at VTB Capital.
"[Gold holdings backing] exchange-traded products are near record highs, long speculative positions [in Comex gold futures] are substantial and they showed little reaction to Spain's downgrade [on Wednesday]."
Credit Suisse meantime raised its forecast for the 2013 average gold price Friday to $1,840 per ounce, up from $1,720, citing the US Federal Reserve's announcement last month that it will continue asset purchases indefinitely as a factor behind the decision.
Over in China, the world's second-largest gold buying nation in 2011, the yuan has risen to its highest level against the dollar in 19 years.
The yuan has been allowed to come close to the upper limit of the trading range maintained by the People's Bank of China two days in a row this week.
"This is something that has been quite remarkable," says Royal Bank of Scotland economist Louis Kuijs in Hong Kong.
"The PBoC has surprised the markets but the appreciation is in line with the observation that policy makers don't seem to be as concerned about the slowdown as some people in the markets and some corporates."
"It would be in Beijing's interest to see [US president] Obama re-elected [in next month's presidential election]," argues Crédit Agricole strategist Dariusz Kowalczyk.
"Given [Obama's opponent] Romney's tougher stance on China…the PBoC may be trying to help Obama to make the argument in the next debate that he has succeeded to pressure Beijing into appreciating [China's currency]."
Romney has said that if he wins the presidency on of his first acts would be to label China a currency manipulator.
"Labeling China as a currency manipulator might not help enhance the dollar's safe haven status," says this morning's note from Standard Bank analyst Steve Barrow, "given that foreign central banks, including China's, own just over a third of [US] Treasuries."
Japan's government meantime has cut its assessment for the country's economic outlook for the third month in a row, the longest stretch of consecutive downward revisions since the five months following the Lehman Brothers collapse four years ago.