PRECIOUS-Platinum, palladium off multi-month highs
* Pre-holiday physical gold purchases wind down * Platinum, palladium take a breather after rally * Spot gold neutral in $1,657.54-$1,681.70/oz range -technicals * Coming Up: U.S. ISM non-manufacturing PMI; 1500 GMT (Adds Tokyo gold hitting record high, updates prices) By Rujun Shen SINGAPORE, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Platinum and palladium fell on Tuesday from multi-month highs hit in the previous session, as traders sold into the rally to lock in profits, while gold stayed listless. Spot palladium dropped $3.25 to $751.97 an ounce by 0809 GMT, heading for its biggest daily decline in nearly a month. It had peaked at a 17-month high of $759.75 an ounce on Monday, following a rise for four straight weeks. An improving global economic outlook has helped platinum and palladium outperform gold and silver so far this year, as demand prospects brightened for these metals, mainly used in industrial production and jewellery. "The market is probably disappointed from lack of follow-through after we hit new highs yesterday," said a Singapore-based trader, adding that overall sentiment remained bullish in platinum and palladium. The speculative net longs in U.S. palladium futures and options spiked nearly 19 percent on the week to 22,532 lots in the week to Jan 29, up 23 percent so far this year, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed. Net longs in platinum rose 7 percent on the week to 40,938 contracts, up 46 percent so far this year, CFTC data also said. Spot platinum edged down $2.75 an ounce to $1,689.99 an ounce, off a four-month high of $1,705.25 hit in the previous session. Helping platinum's sentiment, Anglo American Platinum , the world's largest platinum producer, said it made its first annual loss last year and warned of growing labour unrest as it cuts back operations in a bid to restore profit. Gold has been trapped in a range roughly between $1,660 and $1,680 an ounce since late last week, as investors await a fresh catalyst to trigger a more decisive move, with momentum appearing to be running out after a 12-year rally in prices. Physical buying interest stalled in Asia as rangebound prices sapped trading interest, and China's market is winding down ahead of a week-long Lunar New Year holiday that kicks off on Saturday. "There was some physical buying interest around $1,660, but not much at this level," said Ronald Leung, a dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong. "People are mostly waiting for more data from the United States to assess how the economy is and whether quantitative easing will continue." Monetary stimulus was a key driver of gold's rally in the last few years, and an improving U.S. economy has stirred concern the Federal Reserve might curtail bond-buying plans. Spot gold was little changed at $1,673.71. U.S. gold fell $1.60 an ounce to $1,674.80. Technical analysis suggested spot gold would remain neutral in a range between $1,657.54 and $1,681.70 during the day, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao. The most active gold contract on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, currently December, hit another record at 5,010 yen a gram. "The current rally is driven mainly by day-to-day dealing from speculative individuals as we understand large players have been reducing open TOCOM positions," said Satoru Yoshida, a commodity analyst at Dot Commodity. The dollar index rose to a one-week high, climbing for a second day, as a rally in the euro currency stalled on growing worries about political uncertainty in Spain and Italy. A stronger greenback weighs on commodities priced in dollars. Precious metals prices 0809 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1673.71 -0.29 -0.02 -0.05 Spot Silver 31.67 -0.05 -0.16 4.59 Spot Platinum 1689.99 -2.75 -0.16 10.10 Spot Palladium 751.97 -3.25 -0.43 8.67 COMEX GOLD APR3 1674.80 -1.60 -0.10 -0.06 19016 COMEX SILVER MAR3 31.72 0.00 -0.00 4.91 3102 Euro/Dollar 1.3485 Dollar/Yen 92.25 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Additional reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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