Investors are reluctant to take positions into year-end, dealers said.
"Gold has been stuck in a range for such a long time that no one wants to do anything with it. At the end of the year, most books are going to be closed," said Afshin Nabavi, head of trading at MKS.
Gold prices are down nearly 10 percent so far this year for a third straight year of losses, made largely in anticipation of the Fed's interest rate hike, which came this month.
On Wednesday, data showed U.S. personal income in November rose for an eighth straight month, a factor that should bolster economic growth next year. New U.S. single-family home sales that same month rose, though less than expected.
"The narrative here is that the positive economic reports are going to put pressure on gold," Eli Tesfaye, senior market strategist for brokerage RJO Futures in Chicago.
Attention is now switching to the speed of U.S. interest rate hikes next year. Signs that the Fed will lift rates at a steady pace could feed into still softer gold prices, analysts said.