* ECB cuts main interest rate by 25bps to 0.5 percent
* U.S. Federal Reserve maintains bond-buying programme
* ETFs holdings lowest since September 2009 (Updates with changes to prices after Draghi comments)
By Clara Denina
LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Thursday after the European Central Bank (ECB) cut its interest rate for the first time in 10 months and President Mario Draghi said the central bank is technically ready for negative deposit rates.
Lower interest rates favour gold as they encourage investors to put money into non-interest-bearing assets like the metal.
"When Draghi today comes along and says that the central bank is getting ready for negative interest rates, meaning it has all the ammunitions in place, what this suggested is that the opportunity cost to hold gold will remain low," VTB Capital analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov said.
Gold rose to a session high of $1,473.40 an ounce after the rate decision and was at $1,470.86 by 1454 GMT, still up 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 1.6 percent to $1,469.30 an ounce.
The metal gained even as the dollar strengthened against the euro and other currencies after the ECB lowered its main rate by a quarter percentage point to 0.50 percent, and pledged as much liquidity as euro zone banks need well into next year.
"Although it's not a factor today, the dollar will however be an important driver for the metal in coming days, as investors wait for a key jobs report in the United States," Kryuchenkov said.
Investors turned their attention towards the U.S. non-farm payrolls report for April on Friday, which will signal the longer-term prospects for the Fed's monetary stimulus.
This will follow an earlier report showing initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 324,000 last week.
However, 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 on prices.
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," Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said.
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 and that the current rebound cannot be sustained.
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 1.7 percent to $23.96 an ounce. Platinum was up 1.3 percent to $1,489.99 an ounce. Palladium rose 0.7 percent to $690.22, 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)