* Weak US home sales, manufacturing data boost bullion
* Renewed fund interest in gold lift prices -analyst
* Physical demand weak as prices stay near 3-1/2 month high
* Coming up: U.S. Chicago, Dallas Fed manufacturing indexes
(Adds comment, second byline, dateline, updates market
By Frank Tang and Jan Harvey
NEW YORK/LONDON, Feb 21 Gold rose on Friday,
notching its third consecutive weekly gain, as doubts over U.S.
economic recovery helped lift bullion's safe-haven appeal.
Bullion was supported after a report showed existing U.S.
home sales fell more than expected to an 18-month low in
January, the latest metric to indicate softness, though many
analysts attributed the weakness to weather instead of worsening
The yellow metal rallied to a 3-1/2 month high earlier this
week after a series of disappointing U.S. economic indicators
including weak manufacturing data sparked speculation that the
Federal Reserve would slow the tapering of its bond purchases.
Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president at online precious
metals market BullionVault, said the metal's ability to hold
above key technical support at $1,200 an ounce earlier this year
rekindled fund interest to buy gold.
"I believe that the large investment firms have rebalanced
their portfolios to include gold. And that is a main factor
sustaining gold and may drive prices up into the future," said
Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,327.56 an ounce by
2:33 p.m. EST (1933 GMT).
U.S. COMEX gold futures for April delivery settled up
$6.70 an ounce at $1,323.60, with trading volume about 40
percent below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data
On Tuesday, the metal hit $1,332.10, its highest since
October, lifted by follow-up demand after gold posted a more
than 4 percent gain last week.
The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR
Gold Shares, notched its first weekly outflow in four
weeks, of 5.6 tonnes.
ASIAN DEMAND WILTS
Buying in Asia, a major demand center for physical gold,
remained light. Dealers saw purchases in the physical market
this week, but many jewellers could be waiting for a correction.
"I think (the price) is a little bit too high for Asians to
buy gold, because we've been below $1,300 for a long time and
people bought a lot," Yuichi Ikemizu, branch manager for
Standard Bank in Tokyo, said.
Among other metals, silver gained 0.4 percent to
$21.88 an ounce. Palladium was up 1.1 percent at
$1,426.24 an ounce, while platinum rose 0.8 percent to
$739.50 an ounce.
Dealers said a violent attack in the turbulent, strike-hit
platinum mining belt in South Africa lifted prices. A miner was
killed by group of men at mine belonging to Anglo American
Platinum, police said on Friday.
2:33 PM EST LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT
SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL
US Gold APR 1323.60 6.70 0.5 1315.90 1328.80 94,765
US Silver MAR 21.782 0.098 0.5 21.575 21.975 52,528
US Plat APR 1427.90 15.40 1.1 1415.40 1431.00 8,021
US Pall MAR 740.00 3.70 0.5 734.25 742.00 6,125
Gold 1327.56 5.05 0.4 1316.40 1328.40
Silver 21.880 0.080 0.4 21.600 21.940
Platinum 1426.24 16.04 1.1 1418.00 1429.50
Palladium 739.50 5.73 0.8 737.50 741.00
TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY
CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG
US Gold 113,126 163,259 183,234 15.98 0.13
US Silver 81,328 61,186 57,500 26.23 -1.72
US Platinum 8,266 10,500 13,324 16.29 -1.51
US Palladium 10,586 6,443 5,709 14.13 -0.43
(Additional reporting by Lewa Pardomuan in Singapore; Editing
by Louise Ireland, Jane Baird and Meredith Mazzilli)