Gold prices ended slightly higher this week, supported by the uncertainty surrounding the future pace of the US Federal Reserve's asset buys.

Spot gold hovered around $1,312 (£845.74 , €983.51) an ounce, and gained 0.2% in the week ending 10 August. US gold futures for December delivery settled at $1,312.30 an ounce, Reuters data showed.

Gold prices initially fell to a three-week low on rumours that the Fed could begin pruning its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying programme in September.

Market participants await clarity on the timing of the Fed's planned slowdown of quantitative easing. However, comments from two top Fed officials on Tuesday failed to provide it.

Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart said the initial cutback in the central bank's asset-buys could start at any of the three remaining Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings this year. Elsewhere, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans agreed that the central bank will possibly cut back on its bond-buying programme later in 2013.

Gold prices reversed earlier losses on renewed safe-haven buying interest, as US equities were set for their worst week since June. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 1.49% lower, the S&P 500 was down 1.07% and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.80%.

Gold prices rose on the final trading day as oil prices rallied, boosted by supply disruptions in the Middle East and signs of rising demand in China.

US crude futures for September delivery rose $2.57 to settle at $105.97. North Sea Brent crude oil prices rose more than a dollar to trade above $108, Reuters reported. Elsewhere, a raft of Chinese government data released this week showed that the world's second largest economy could be stabilising, after more than two years of sluggish growth.

The Fed's FOMC is due to meet on 17 September, 29 October and 17 December. The September and December meetings will be followed by a news conference by Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Last month, a Fed statement said the central bank will continue buying mortgage and treasury securities to further strengthen the US economy, which it said was still challenged by federal austerity measures.