PRECIOUS-Gold tops $1,675 on ECB comments; PGMs up on China

Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:30pm EST

* No hints on near-term euro area rate cut after ECB meeting
    * Gold-platinum ratio at tightest since April 2012
    * Chinese exports data boost platinum to highest in a month
    * Coming up: U.S. trade data, Dec. Federal Budget Friday

 (Adds market details, updates prices)
    By Frank Tang
    NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Gold rose 1 percent to $1,675
an ounce on Thursday, notching its biggest one-day gain in 2013,
as signs that the European Central Bank will not cut interest
rates any time soon boosted bullion buying.
    Platinum group metals (PGMs) also climbed 2 percent as
encouraging Chinese export-growth data triggered broad gains in
industrial commodities and equities. Recent improvement in U.S.
vehicle sales also boosted demand for the PGMs largely consumed
as autocatalytic converters, traders said.
    Gold has rebounded 3 percent after hitting a 4-1/2 month low
under $1,625 an ounce last week, when minutes from the Federal
Reserve's policy meeting in December showed several top
officials favored slowing or stopping the stimulus program "well
before" the end of the year.
    "Gold was oversold after the Fed minutes. I don't see the
Fed will be doing anything to withdraw stimulus soon," said Bill
O'Neill, partner of commodities investment firm LOGIC Advisors.
    "Clearly, Mario Draghi is leaving room for accommodation,
and the overall global pattern of central bank easing continues
to be there," he said.
    The euro zone economy will remain weak in 2013, said ECB
President Mario Draghi, and he forecast a gradual recovery only
in late 2013, as the ECB held interest rates at a record low of
0.75 percent. 
    Spot gold rose 1.1 percent to $1,675.70 an ounce by
3:03 p.m. EST (2003 GMT), having earlier hit a one-week high of
$1,678.60 an ounce.
    U.S. COMEX gold futures for February delivery settled
up $22.50 at $1,678 an ounce, with trading volume about 5
percent above its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data
showed.
    Central bank monetary stimulus was a key driver behind
gold's 12th year of annual gains in 2012 as investors were drawn
to bullion as a hedge against inflation.
    An around 1.5 percent gain in the euro against the dollar
and increases in crude oil further boosted gold's gain.
    Also underpinning gold was data showing China's export
growth rebounded surprisingly sharply to a seven-month high in
December after seven straight quarters of slowdown.
 
    Credit Suisse analyst Tom Kendall said the Chinese data and
the dollar's drop helped pave the way for gold's run towards the
next resistance level at $1,703 an ounce.
    Silver rose 1.6 percent to $30.82 an ounce.

    WHITE HOT PLATINUM GROUP METALS
    Spot platinum hit its highest in a month and was last
up 2.4 percent at $1,629.50 an ounce, while palladium 
rose 2 percent to $696.60 for a third day of gains.
    Gold's premium over platinum, a historically unusual
phenomenon that has persisted since the first quarter of 2012,
fell to less than $50, its lowest since mid-April.
    Signs of continuous improvement in U.S. auto sales have also
given a brighter tone to PGMs, alongside supply issues created
by labour unrest in South Africa's producing belt.
    Platinum and palladium prices may rise to record nominal
highs in the long run, boosted by growing investment interest in
PGM exchange-traded funds, futures and options, commodities
research and asset management firm CPM Group said in a note. 
 3:03 PM EST     LAST/    NET   PCT      LOW    HIGH  CURRENT
                SETTLE   CHNG  CHNG                       VOL
 US Gold FEB   1678.00  22.50   1.4  1653.80 1678.80  139,308
 US Silver MAR  30.918  0.669   2.2   30.255  30.950   38,271
 US Plat JAN   1632.40  34.60   2.2  1595.20 1632.50      125
 US Pall MAR    702.20  14.00   2.0   685.55  705.00    4,398
                                                               
 Gold          1675.70  18.41   1.1  1654.60 1678.60         
 Silver         30.820  0.490   1.6   30.280  30.910
 Platinum      1629.50  38.50   2.4  1595.25 1632.50
 Palladium      696.60  13.50   2.0   686.30  702.50
                                                               
 TOTAL MARKET              VOLUME          30-D ATM VOLATILITY
                CURRENT   30D AVG  250D AVG   CURRENT     CHG
 US Gold        164,006   154,109   174,222      13.4   -0.15
 US Silver       44,914    46,425    53,155     22.01   -0.39
 US Platinum     16,033    14,178    10,502     17.09    0.30
 US Palladium     4,560     4,201     4,802                  
                                                               
 

 (Additonal reporting by Veronica Brown in London and Rujun Shen
in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Richard Chang)
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