PRECIOUS-Gold rises 1.4 pct to three-month high after Yellen comments
* Fed Chair Yellen says to continue measured tapering * Gold on track for biggest one-day gain in three weeks * Bullion supported by India's plan to ease import ban * Coming up: US Federal Budget Wednesday (Adds details on technicals, equities link, updates prices) By Frank Tang and Jan Harvey NEW YORK/LONDON, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Gold rose to a three-month high on Tuesday, gaining nearly 1.5 percent after incoming Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen made it clear she would not make any abrupt changes to the central bank's commitment to a measured tapering of bond purchases. Technical buying also accelerated gains after the metal crossed above tough resistance at $1,280 an ounce. Bullion's rally on Tuesday reversed its recent strong inverse link with equities, which have been pressured by economic uncertainties and emerging-market jitters. The S&P 500 index climbed 1.3 percent. In her testimony before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, Yellen said she strongly supports the monetary policy approach driven by her predecessor, Ben Bernanke. "The overall tone of Yellen's comment is a carbon copy of the Fed's existing policy under Bernanke, so the market is relieved that there will be no tightening any time soon," said Bill O'Neill, partner of New Jersey commodities investment firm LOGIC Advisors. Spot gold was up 1.4 percent at $1,291.51 an ounce by 3:11 p.m. EST (2011 GMT), its biggest one-day gain in three weeks. Earlier on Tuesday, it hit $1,293.44 - the highest price since Nov. 14. U.S. COMEX gold futures for April delivery settled up $15.10 an ounce at $1,289.80, with trading volume about 20 percent below its 250-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. Yellen's testimony comes at a tricky time given two months of soft employment growth and as a deadline looms on raising the U.S. government borrowing limit before a possible debt default. Speculation that the Fed might hold off further reduction of stimulus had strongly supported gold by keeping interest rates at rock bottom while stoking inflation fears. Analysts said, however, a resilient equities market and improving economic outlook could thwart any further gold rally. In the physical markets, bullion was also underpinned after India's trade ministry said it has recommended easing curbs on gold imports, after a 77 percent drop in imports for January that helped narrow the country's trade deficit. India had imposed curbs last year including a record 10 percent duty to discourage gold purchases. Among other precious metals, silver gained 0.9 percent to $20.21 an ounce. Platinum climbed 0.3 percent to $1,384.74 an ounce, while palladium rose 0.1 percent to $715.30 an ounce. 3:11 PM EST LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL US Gold APR 1289.80 15.10 1.2 1273.50 1294.40 145,125 US Silver MAR 20.153 0.041 0.2 19.915 20.290 54,422 US Plat APR 1387.80 1.90 0.1 1380.00 1394.90 7,465 US Pall MAR 716.35 -0.40 -0.1 714.20 723.00 3,251 Gold 1291.51 17.22 1.4 1274.18 1293.44 Silver 20.210 0.180 0.9 19.960 20.260 Platinum 1384.74 3.49 0.3 1381.50 1392.50 Palladium 715.30 0.55 0.1 718.50 722.00 TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG US Gold 151,633 166,401 185,409 17.19 -0.20 US Silver 70,658 45,064 56,275 24.57 1.33 US Platinum 7,859 10,943 13,290 19.37 0.94 US Palladium 3,812 4,778 5,596 17.86 -0.33 (Additional reporting by Clara Denina in London, A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; editing by William Hardy and Meredith Mazzilli)
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