Sun, May 18, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Gold has month’s best weekly gain, nickle trims fall


Gold futures posted their biggest weekly gain this month as an unexpected decline in consumer confidence rekindled US growth concerns, spurring demand for haven assets.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary sentiment index fell to 81.8 this month from 84.1 last month, data showed on Friday. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a gain to 84.5.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of stocks fell as much as 0.3 percent.

Gold jumped 7.8 percent in the first four months of the year amid tension in Ukraine and concern that the US economy was slowing.

“The mixed data out of the U.S. is helping gold,” Archer Financial Services senior market strategist Adam Klopfenstein said by telephone. “The flaring up of the Ukraine situation brought in some safe-haven bids earlier this week.”

Gold futures for delivery next month fell less than 0.1 percent to settle at US$1,293.40 an ounce at 1:41pm on the Comex in New York.

The metal rose 0.5 percent this week, the most since April 25.

The top US and UK diplomats vowed to punish Russia with industrywide sanctions if this month’s Ukrainian presidential election is undermined, as the Kiev government’s forces moved to flush out separatists in the east.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for July fell 0.3 percent to US$1,466.10 an ounce in their second straight drop.

Palladium futures for next month climbed 0.4 percent to US$815 an ounce, rebounding from an earlier loss of as much as 0.9 percent, after Interfax reported that Russia will start purchasing the metal. The price rose to US$829.20 on Wednesday, the highest since August 2011, and gained 1.9 percent this week.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union have been on strike since Jan. 23 in South Africa, the top producer of platinum and the second- biggest for palladium.

Production at the largest platinum mine will be paralyzed until at least the middle of the year even if the stoppage is resolved soon, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd said.

Silver futures for July fell 0.8 percent to US$19.329 an ounce on the Comex.

Nickel advanced for the first time in three days on Friday, narrowing its biggest weekly loss since November last year, as investors assessed that the 11 percent slump it posted over the previous two days was excessive.

The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange added 1.9 percent to US$19,096 a metric tonne by 4:15pm in Tokyo after losing 6.4 percent on Friday, the biggest drop since September 2011. The price slid 4.1 percent this week.

Nickel touched US$21,625 on Tuesday, the highest level since February 2012.

Top nickel miner Indonesia in January banned ore exports, while tougher sanctions against Russia — home to OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the biggest producer of refined metal — may limit supply and Vale SA said operations remain halted at a plant in New Caledonia.

“It’s just a knee-jerk reaction,” said Chae Un-soo, a metals trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co in Seoul. “After big swings in the past few days, investors were looking for a level to justify demand.”

Copper in London retreated 0.5 percent to US$6,847.50 a tonne, paring a second weekly gain. The contract for delivery in July on the Comex in New York slid 0.3 percent to US$3.134 a pound (0.45kg).

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