Gold prices inched up on Wednesday as a lacklustre stock market and falling bond yields reflected worries about a global economic slowdown and lifted safe-haven assets.
Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,318.26 per ounce as of 1104 GMT, after falling 0.5 percent on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures rose 0.2 percent to $1,318 an ounce.
"The falling yields are reducing the opportunity cost of holding the bullion, which is supportive for gold prices," said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig.
Stock markets are turbulent and bond yields are coming down on concerns about a slowdown in the global economy, Fertig said.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell further, having fallen below the yield for three-month bills on Friday for the first time since 2007, inverting the yield curve. An inversion is widely seen as indicating an economic recession. [US/]
Global equity markets were flat on Wednesday, with European stock markets paring most of their early gains.
Facing rising threats to growth, the European Central Bank could further delay a planned increase in interest rates if it needs to and may look at measures to mitigate the effects of negative interest rates, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Wednesday.
In the latest economic data from the United States, homebuilding fell more than expected in February, while consumer confidence ebbed in March, offering more evidence of a sharp slowdown in economic activity early in the year.
"There clearly is a slowdown in the global economy and if we start seeing more signs of a potential recession, that should be even more constructive for gold," said ING analyst Warren Patterson.
Gold has gained more than 13 percent since touching more than 1-1/2-year lows last August, on the back of a dovish U.S. Federal Reserve and global growth concerns.
Market participants are now keeping a close eye on the British parliament's vote on Brexit plans scheduled at 1900 GMT.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to indicate a date for quitting her post as the price for getting her twice-defeated Brexit deal ratified, while parliament tries to select its own alternative from a multiple-choice list of options.
Indicative of investor sentiment, holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose 0.41 percent to 784.26 tonnes on Tuesday.
Among other precious metals, palladium was down 1.7 percent on Wednesday at $1,514 per ounce.
Silver was unchanged at $15.44 an ounce, while platinum was up 0.8 percent to $861.70.
GRAPHIC - 2019 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl