Gold settled around 1 percent higher on Thursday near a 2-1/2 week high, boosted by follow-through buying a day after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting suggested officials will be cautious on hiking interest rates.
The yellow metal largely ignored data signaling a stronger U.S. job market, with the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits tumbling last week to the lowest level in nearly seven years.
Analysts said gold buying accelerated after Wednesday's Fed minutes, which showed officials fretted last month that investors would overreact to policymakers' fresh forecasts on interest rates that appeared to map out a more aggressive cycle of rate hikes than was actually anticipated.
U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled 1.1 percent higher at $1,320.50 an ounce.
Spot gold hit its highest since March 24 at $1,324.40 an ounce in earlier trade, boosted by minutes from the Fed's March meeting released on Wednesday. These showed policymakers were unanimous in wanting to ditch the thresholds they had used to telegraph a policy tightening and did not reveal any discussion of keeping rates near zero for a considerable time.
Cash gold was last up 0.4 percent at $1,317 an ounce.