The dollar overall has been able to make only limited headway despite a softer tone in European currencies while caution surrounding political risk has curbed any potential selling.
Gold was confined to narrow ranges around $1,280 per ounce on Thursday with narrow ranges prevailing.
US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin stated that tax reform proposals would be unveiled soon and that the plans would be passed before the end of 2017. The comments helped underpin confidence in the equity markets with the S&P 500 index advancing close to 0.8% on the day.
Overall risk conditions held steady which curbed potential defensive demand for gold, especially as the dollar held a firm tone against the yen.
Bond yields edged higher during the day which stifled gold support, although ranges were relatively narrow as caution prevailed.
Gold prices moved to test support below the $1,280 level, although there was solid buying support on dips.
The US currency was unable to make any headway in Asian trading on Friday as gold edged higher, although ranges remained narrow with stalemate in major markets.
The dollar edged higher against European currencies during the European session and there was a significant element of caution ahead of the French election which was important in deterring gold selling and prices edged higher to around $1,284.
The latest COT data will be watched closely over the weekend for further evidence on underlying positioning.
Risk conditions will be extremely important for trends in gold in Asian trading on Monday with a particular focus on the French Presidential election. A very strong performance by National Front leader Le Pen would tend to support gold on fears over political instability within France. The overall impact should be measured if Le Pen reaches the second round and faces Macron or Fillon in the run-off.
A Le Pen-Melenchon run-off could trigger strong gold demand, although the impact would be offset by a stronger dollar. If both Melenchon and Le Pen fail to reach the second round, there would be the potential for sharp gold losses with an improvement in risk conditions.
Wider trends in risk appetite will also be important, especially with further concerns surrounding the situation in North Korea and fears over further missile tests next week. Any move to a nuclear test would be likely to have a major impact in supporting gold.
Gold Prices 4-Hour Chart