Gold prices lower, slip below $1,300

Gold prices slipped lower on Thursday as gains in equities markets and indications that the U.S. economic recovery is progressing dampened safe haven demand for the precious metal.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery were down 0.38% to $1,298.50. On Wednesday, the June gold contract closed at $1,303.50, up 0.25%.

Gold slipped after Asian equities markets pushed higher overnight, as dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen supported gains on Wall Street. Rising stock prices could weigh on gold, which is often seen as an alternative investment.

In a speech in New York, Ms. Yellen said monetary policy will need to remain accommodative for some time, citing slackness in the labor market and low inflation.

She added that the central bank expects the U.S. unemployment rate to fall back between 5.2% and 5.6% by the end of 2016. The U.S. unemployment rate currently stands at 6.7%.

Concerns over weakening demand from top buyer China also weighed on gold prices.

Prices for the precious metal posted the largest one day decline since December 19 on Tuesday after the World Gold Council said that Chinese gold demand is likely to remain flat this year, as a result of the country's economic slowdown and constrained credit markets.

Expectations for weakening Chinese demand overshadowed concerns over the escalating conflict in Ukraine. On Wednesday, three pro-Russian separatists were killed in clashes with Ukrainian forces in the east of the country.

The U.S., Russia, the European Union and Ukraine were to hold crisis talks in Geneva on Thursday.

Gold, seen as a safe haven investment, usually benefits from economic and geopolitical turmoil.

Elsewhere, in metals trading, silver for May delivery was down 0.51% to $19.533 a troy ounce, while copper for May delivery edged up 0.11% to $3.030 a pound.