The precious metal is also on course for its steepest quarterly loss since 2004, having moved in tandem with riskier assets for the most part of this year.
* Spot gold edged up 0.2 percent to $1,553.51 an ounce by 0055 GMT, after hitting a four-week trough of $1,547.24 on Thursday.
* Bullion is down less than half a percent for the month, its fifth straight monthly decline, the longest since a six-month slide from late 1996 to early 1997. It has also dropped nearly 7 percent for the quarter, its biggest since the second quarter of 2004.
* Gold has fallen more than 13 percent from the 2012 peak of around $1,790, and 19 percent from the record above $1,920 reached in September 2011.
* U.S. gold gained 0.2 percent to $1,553.90.
* Italy and Spain refused to sign off on a 120 billion euro growth package until Germany approved short-term measures to ease their soaring cost of credit, holding off an agreement at an EU summit which is on its final day on Friday.
* The U.S. economy grew at an annual 1.9 percent rate in the first quarter, which was unchanged from a prior reading and marked a sharp step down from the fourth quarter's 3 percent gain, underscoring the economy's vulnerability as global growth slows.
* Asian shares and the euro were pressured as European leaders argued over how to ease borrowing strains in Italy and Spain and stop the euro zone debt crisis spreading, with investors fearful of U.S. reaction to the deadlock.
* U.S. crude rose on Friday, recovering from an eight-month low, after the European Union announced a $149 billion growth package that could lift the global economy and fuel demand, though a delay by Italy and Spain in signing off on the agreement capped gains.
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012