* Gold has retraced half of loses from April swoon
* U.S. believes Syria likely used chemical weapons in small
* Russia, Turkey raised gold reserves in March - IMF
* Coming up: U.S. first-quarter GDP data Friday
(Adds comment, market details, updates prices)
By Frank Tang and Clara Denina
NEW YORK/LONDON, April 25 Gold surged 2.5
percent on Thursday, its biggest daily rise since June, as
physical buyers kept scooping up the metal at prices viewed as a
bargain after bullion hit a two-year low on April 15.
Silver rallied 5 percent during the session, and platinum
group metals gained 2 percent.
Bullion has now retraced about half of its losses after it
fell a combined $225 an ounce over two days in April.
"It was due for a bounce after that devastating move earlier
in the month," said Sean McGillivray, head of asset allocation
at Great Pacific Wealth Management.
Buying continued the day after billionaire investor John
Paulson said he would maintain his bullish view on gold.
Sentiment also got a boost late on Wednesday, when data showed
Russia's central bank and others bought gold in March.
Buyers were also encouraged by rising premiums in Asian
physical gold and the U.S. Mint's suspension of sales of smaller
American Eagle gold coins after soaring demand depleted
McGillivray said gold is likely to hit technical resistance
at $1,500 an ounce, as people who bought at sharply lower levels
During the session, spot gold hit a 10-day high of
$1,468.60 an ounce. It was at $1,465.75 an ounce by 2:55 p.m.
EDT (1955 GMT), up 2.4 percent for the session and around 11
percent above a two-year low of $1,321.35 hit last week.
U.S. gold for June delivery settled up $38.30 at
$1,462 an ounce, with trading volume on track to finish around
20 percent below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data
Silver rose 5.1 percent to $24.27 an ounce.
Traders cited gold and silver buying related to the
expiration of Comex May options after markets close on Thursday.
Trading was active for both buy and put options around the
heavily positioned $1,450 strike price as gold market
participants looked to profit after the rout that sent gold to a
two-year low last week, said Frank McGhee, head precious metals
trader at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC.
In addition, rising premiums in Asian physical gold and
strong sales at U.S. coin dealers suggested bargain hunters have
stepped up following the gold market's swoon.
"There has been a massive surge in terms of physical
interest in Asia - we had a record level of shipments to India
last week, which was twice the level of the previous week,"
Standard Chartered analyst Daniel Smith said.
Crude oil prices also rallied for the second day, keyed by
geopolitical tension after the United States said on Thursday it
believed that Syria's government has likely used chemical
weapons on a small scale also supported gold.
ETFs SELL, CENTRAL BANKS BUY
Daily outflows from exchange-traded funds showed no sign of
abating, suggesting that sagging investor confidence is unlikely
to be restored any time soon after last week's sell-off.
Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed ETF, SPDR Gold
Trust, dropped a further 0.4 percent on Wednesday from
Tuesday to their lowest since late 2009.
Russia and Turkey raised their gold reserves in March, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday, which was
ahead of the spectacular plunge in prices this month that
shocked ardent gold investors and bulls.
Gold came under pressure earlier this month after the ECB
and IMF asked Cyprus to sell reserves to raise 400 million euros
($523 million) as part of a bailout deal, raising speculation
other indebted euro zone countries could follow suit.
Among platinum group metals, platinum gained 2.8
percent at $1,465.50 an ounce and palladium was up 2
percent to $678.75 an ounce.
2:55 PM EDT LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT
SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL
US Gold JUN 1462.00 38.30 2.7 1426.30 1468.60 169,816
US Silver MAY 24.14 1.307 5.7 23.020 24.350 69,573
US Plat JUL 1464.10 33.30 2.3 1428.30 1471.20 8,734
US Pall JUN 681.40 13.75 2.1 669.00 684.30 4,364
Gold 1465.75 34.95 2.4 1427.63 1468.60
Silver 24.270 1.180 5.1 23.110 24.370
Platinum 1465.50 39.50 2.8 1430.00 1468.50
Palladium 678.75 13.25 2.0 671.00 681.47
TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY
CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG
US Gold 179,832 228,227 179,834 20.29 -0.07
US Silver 104,761 66,203 54,882 30.86 -2.92
US Platinum 8,834 15,572 12,132 19.11 -2.23
US Palladium 4,567 5,153 5,315
(Additional reporting by Lewa Pardomuan in Singapore; Editing
by Jane Baird, Alison Birrane, Nick Zieminski and David