PRECIOUS-Gold flat in thin trade ahead of ECB, U.S. jobs data
* ECB president Draghi expected to calm markets
* Worries remain over Portugal debt
* Market awaits U.S. nonfarm jobs report on Friday
* Coin demand not as strong as April - Perth Mint
(Updates throughout, changes dateline from SINGAPORE)
LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) - Gold slipped slightly on Thursday as investors awaited the results of a European Central Bank meeting (ECB) later in the day and major U.S. jobs data on Friday that could impact monetary policy.
Volumes were expected to remain thin throughout the day as traders were reluctant to take big positions during the U.S. Independence Day holiday.
"When the U.S. is on holiday nobody does anything. There has been some selling this morning, but I don't expect much more happening," Marex Spectron head of precious metals David Govett said.
"This afternoon probably there will be a bit of movement when Draghi holds his meeting ... and then tomorrow we see the U.S. non-farm payrolls, where we expect to continue see the trend of slowly better data," he added.
Spot gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,248.61 an ounce by 0941 GMT after gaining almost 1 percent on Wednesday. Comex gold futures for August were down $3.20 to $1,248.70.
Gold has jumped 7 percent since hitting its lowest price in almost three years at $1,180.71 last Friday, but many traders view the gains as a typical short-term rally that follows a significant decline.
Political turmoil in Portugal, where talks over the government's future threatened to reignite the euro zone crisis, sparked some safe-haven gold buying which was appeared to be exhausted.
There was a widespread consensus that the ECB would not touch rates or announce any new additional measures at its policy meeting later in the day.
"Current worries over Portugal could strengthen the case for stronger forward guidance by the ECB to ensure that interbank and funding concerns for the peripheral area do not intensify," ANZ Research said.
"Gold could come under pressure if this eventuates."
Sentiment also was guarded ahead of Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls report, which is expected to show the economy created 165,000 jobs last month. The data could affect when the Federal Reserve will begin tapering off its $85 billion monthly bond buying stimulus programme.
Gold posted its biggest quarterly loss on record in the April-June period, down 23 percent. Selling was exacerbated by comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last month that the U.S. economy was recovering strongly enough for the central bank to begin pulling back on its stimulus in the next few months.
This would support a rise in interest rates, making gold less attractive.
Physical demand for gold was lukewarm despite the recent fall in prices, and premiums remained steady in main markets as refineries prepared to shut for house-keeping during the summer, traders said.
"Our coin dealers in Australia have seen a good response to this recent drop. But it is not the same response as we got in April (when prices fell the most in 30 years)," said Bron Suchecki, manager of analysis and strategy at the Perth Mint.
The mint's depository business has not seen significant liquidations but the inflows have dropped off, he said.
Silver fell 0.5 percent to $19.59 an ounce. Platinum was up 0.1 percent to $1,337.90 an ounce and palladium dropped 0.5 percent to $679 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; editing by Jane Baird)