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Weak US dollar lifts gold, spurs fund buying

Gold extended gains on Wednesday after a falling US dollar encouraged funds and investors to shift money back into the precious metal after last week’s heavy sell-down.

Gold rose to $941.00/941.80 an ounce from $934.60/935.40 an ounce late in New York on Tuesday, also driven by purchases from Japanese speculators. “The Japanese are pushing up the price. We heard there’s some physical buying at lows, especially from the jewellery sector,” said Ronald Leung, director of Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong. Gold hit a record of $1,030.80 on March 17 before a broad sell-off in commodities dragged down prices to a one-month low around $904, briefly hurting investors’ confidence in the metal used as an alternative investment and a hedge against inflation. “I think $950 will be capped for the time being. Sentiment seems to be a little bit bullish. They think it still has a chance to see $1,000 again this year,” said Leung, who pegged support at $910 an ounce.

Platinum tracked gold’s gains amid supply fears after a power crisis disrupted mining in main producer South Africa. Palladium and silver also firmed but remained below their recent highs. The euro barely moved at $1.5652 after rising more, than 1% on Tuesday, when reports showed US consumer’ confidence plunged to a five-year low on worries about rising inflation and fewer jobs, with a record drop in house prices in January compounding their woes.

Gold futures for April delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange added $6.8 an ounce to $941.7 an ounce but were off last week’s record of $1,033.90. “There’s some light buying from Indonesia and Vietnam. It’s not great but they are buying,” said a dealer in Singapore, referring to purchases form jewellery makers and investors. “I guess sentiment for gold is improving because the dollar is weakening again,” he said.

Spot platinum rose to $1,964/1,974 an ounce from $1,960/1,970 an ounce, but was still well below a record of $2,290 an ounce hit on March 4. The most active Tokyo platinum futures rose ¥182 per gram higher at ¥6,158 to track a firm cash market. Silver rose to $17.91/17.96 an ounce from $17.78/17.83 an ounce. Spot palladium rose to $450/455 an ounce from $442/447 an ounce. (Reuters)