* ETFs holdings lowest since September 2009
* U.S. Federal Reserve maintains bond-buying programme
* Coming Up: U.S weekly jobless claims at 1230 GMT (Recasts lead, changes prices)
By Clara Denina
LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) - Gold edged up on Thursday after the European Central Bank (ECB)cut its main interest rate cut by 25 basis points to a record low of 0.50 percent.
Lower interest rates should favour gold as they encourage investors to put money into non-interest-bearing assets like the metal.
Gold rose to a session high of $1,461.65 an ounce after the rate decision and was at $1,458.71 by 1211 GMT, up 0.1 percent.
The metal had shed more than 1 percent in the previous session -- its biggest daily drop since bullion's historic decline in mid-April -- to a low of $1,439.74, the weakest since April 25.
U.S. gold for June delivery rose 0.8 percent to $1,457.20 an ounce.
Gains were kept in check by slower physical demand even as China returned from a three-day holiday, while the Federal Reserve's decision on Wednesday to maintain or boost its bond-purchase programme - the central bank currently buys $85 billion worth of bonds each month to support a moderately expanding economy - had little impact.
Although the Fed's printing of money to buy assets is considered supportive for the metal because it tends to be inflationary, analysts said that inflation readings were lower recently and are not likely to show changes in coming months.
"The logic was that the more QE was done by central banks the more inflationary pressure we would have but there's no sign of that and gold is suffering," Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said.
Investors turned their attention towards weekly jobless claims in the United States, due at 1230 GMT, as well as the U.S. non-farm payrolls report for April on Friday, which will signal the longer-term prospects for the Fed's monetary stimulus.
Bullion has now recovered around half of the massive losses incurred between April 12 and 16 on fears of a withdrawal of the Fed's monetary stimulus and after the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund asked Cyprus to sell reserves as part of a bailout deal.
But traders believe downside risks persist.
"My view is that the relief rally of last week is over and that we will see lower prices again, not necessarily in the violent way we witnessed a couple of weeks ago, but rather a drift downwards," Marex Spectron, head of precious metals at David Govett, said in a note.
PHYSICAL MARKET SLOWER
Physical market activity slowed after a recent surge in the purchase of gold bars, coins and nuggets across Asia sent premiums for gold bars to multi-year highs.
Gold's second-largest consumer China resumed trading after a three-day holiday, but demand seemed slower than a week ago, while the physical market in Hong Kong was also easier.
"The Chinese market opened again overnight, but little in the way of gold buying was seen, which is slightly disappointing given the fact that prices are thirty to forty dollars lower than when they went on holiday," Marex Spectron said.
Gold's sell-off last month has widened a disconnect between funds that sold on dissatisfaction over bullion's underperformance and individual investors who could not get enough physical gold coins and bars at bargain prices.
SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.31 percent to 1,075.23 tonnes on Wednesday, the lowest since September 2009.
In other precious metals, silver rose 1.1 percent to $23.83 an ounce. Platinum was up 0.7 percent to $1,480.76 an ounce. Palladium was down 0.2 percent to $684.22, having hit a two-week high of $700.72 on Tuesday. (Additional reporting by Lewa Pardomuan in Singapore; Editing by Keiron Henderson and David Cowell)