* U.S. weekly jobless claims lowest since 1969
* Platinum hits highest since mid-June
* Palladium slides 3 percent SPDR gold holdings hit lowest since Dec. 17 (Updates prices, adds comments and background)
By Sumita Layek
April 4 (Reuters) - Gold inched higher on Thursday, after touching a near 10-week low earlier in the session as the dollar firmed on U.S. jobs data, while investors awaited clarity on U.S.-China trade talks.
Spot gold inched 0.2 percent higher to $1,292.72 per ounce as of 3:06 p.m. EDT (1906 GMT).
U.S. gold futures settled little changed at $1,294.3.
“We bounced off a support level around the 100-day moving average, given the backdrop of weakening data for the most part and central banks on an easing path, markets were suddenly reluctant to keep selling gold below the $1,280 region,” said Ryan McKay, commodity strategist at TD Securities.
The yellow metal had earlier touched its lowest since Jan. 25 at $1,280.59 weighed down by a stronger dollar.
The dollar was up 0.2 percent against a basket of currencies as U.S. jobless claims hit a 49-year low last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength despite slowing economic growth.
However, mixed data through the week from around the world did not assure market participants that all was well.
“Even though we had a favorable backdrop being created by a more dovish U.S. Federal Reserve, gold is following the dollar, real yields and equities very closely at the moment,” said Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst at Standard Chartered Bank.
“But still, the broader backdrop is supportive for gold and we expect the dollar to weaken more in the second half of the year,” Cooper added.
Analysts now await the closely watched U.S. non-farm payrolls data on Friday for further clues on the strength of the U.S. economy.
Investors are also watching developments in the U.S.-China trade conflict, with U.S. President Donald Trump expected to announce a date for a summit with China’s President Xi Jinping.
Holdings in the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, fell for a third straight session on Wednesday. Holdings were at their lowest since Dec. 17 at 24.57 million ounces.
Among other precious metals, spot platinum was last up 2.6 percent at $897.25 an ounce, having earlier hit its highest since mid-June at $901.49 an ounce.
The auto-catalyst metal jumped 3.4 percent in the previous session, the most in more than two years.
Platinum is gaining because of a combination of momentum after breaking the recent highs as well as its relative value against gold and palladium, said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.
Palladium was down 2.8 percent at $1,365.01 and silver was little changed at $15.13. (Reporting by Sumita Layek, Karthika Namboothiri and Arijit Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang)