Gold edged higher to fresh six-month highs on Friday after the U.S. Federal Reserve unleashed a long-awaited stimulus programme, but some analysts expect the market to take a breather before tackling further gains.
Gold achieved relatively modest gains on Friday after jumping 2 percent on Thursday and a total of 10 percent over the past month, largely in anticipation of the easing move by the U.S. central bank.
On Thursday, the Fed launched an open-ended mortgage debt buying programme and pledged to keep interest rates near zero until at least mid-2015.
Silver, platinum and palladium, widely used in industrial applications, also climbed to their highest in about six months, as the appetite for riskier assets rose after the Fed move.
Spot gold added 0.45 percent to $1,774.27 an ounce by 1000 GMT after climbing as high as $1,777.51 an ounce, its highest since February 29.
"After the move we had, not just yesterday, but over the last two or three weeks I think it would be natural to look for a period of consolidation," said Tom Kendall, an analyst at Credit Suisse in London.
"But certainly going into the back end of this year, I would be looking for gold to be getting towards at least the $1,850 level."
Cash gold is on course for a 2.3-percent gain this week - a fourth week of consecutive rises, as investors have been encouraged by central banks' latest push to promote global growth by effectively printing more cash.
Edel Tully at UBS said gold would encounter stiff resistance at $1790.75-$1802.93, the February and November highs. "We expect a corrective phase around this area to unwind the over-extended upside conditions," she said in a note.
The rally so far has been fuelled largely by institutional and hedge fund buying, but the key to keeping momentum going in the gold price will be a revival of physical buying from India and China, Kendall added.
Chinese buying of gold jewellery, coins and bars fell for the first time in more than five years in the second quarter of 2012, metals consultancy GFMS said earlier this month.
Demand from India has also been weak, falling by a third in the first half.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, inched up 0.2 percent on the day to 1,292.432 tonnes by September 13.
The dollar index dropped to a four-month low, helping attract gold buyers holding other currencies.
PLATINUM, PALLADIUM, SILVER HIT MULTI-MONTH HIGHS
Spot platinum jumped more than 2 percent to a six-month high of $1,713 an ounce, before paring gains to $1,695.74, as concerns about supply deepened with labour unrest in top producer South Africa's mining sector.
Striking miners rejected an offer by Lonmin to increase their salaries to less than half their demanded basic wage.
Platinum is headed for a 8-percent rise on the week, its biggest weekly gain since last October. The gold-platinum spread narrowed to under $70 an ounce, a level unseen since April, as platinum outperformed gold in recent weeks.
Spot palladium struck a near six-month high of $698.75, before paring some gains to $696.22, a rise of 1.7 percent. The metal was poised for its 11th straight session of gains, its longest winning streak since at least 1984.
Silver rose to a six-month high of $34.92 an ounce, before easing to $34.70, up 0.2 percent. It was headed for a more than 3 percent weekly rise, extending its winning streak to a fourth week.
"Silver is poised to test the next resistance level at $35.4," said a Shanghai-based trader. The recent rally, which has lifted silver by about 25 percent over the past month, is suppressing short-term physical demand, he added.