Gold eased on Thursday, changing direction and falling below $1,200 an ounce as short-covering dried up after buoying prices following the European Central Bank's (ECB) announcement that it will lift its 2016 inflation forecast.
The ECB held interest rates unchanged at record lows while raising next year's inflation expectation to 1.5 percent from 1.3 percent and predicting 2017 inflation at 1.8 percent.
"The ECB is much more optimistic regarding growth and inflation than we are ... people are looking at currency devaluation and see gold as an alternative," Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann said.
Gold is usually viewed as a hedge against inflation.
Spot gold was down 0.04 percent at $1,199.45 an ounce. U.S. gold for April delivery settled down 0.4 percent at $1,196.20 an ounce.