* British newspaper says ECB moving to help Spain, Italy
* Bullion at highest since May, rally in fifth day
* Platinum up over $120/oz in past week on S.Africa woes
* Coming up: U.S. existing home sales Wednesday
(Adds details, graphic link, updates market activity)
By Frank Tang
NEW YORK, Aug 21 Gold rose to its highest since
May on Tuesday on speculation the European Central Bank will act
to help Spain and Italy, while platinum also hit a 3-1/2 month
high as violence at a South African mine raised concerns about
The yellow metal's 1.2 percent gain was its biggest one-day
rise in almost a month, extending bullion's rally to a fifth
straight session on reports the ECB was moving to ease Spanish
and Italian borrowing costs.
Technical support helped as gold rose above its 100-day
moving average, but analysts said its 200 DMA could form the
next resistance. Bullion buying also was lifted as Wall Street
hit a four-year high earlier in the session. U.S. equities later
"There is still an overriding fear that the equities markets
have appreciated beyond the point of sustainability so there is
a level of fear and desire for diversification into gold," said
Jeffrey Sica, chief investment officer at SICA Wealth
"The economic numbers around the world have not proven to
justify a recovery without the anticipated liquidity created by
central banks," said Sica, whose firm manages $1 billion in
Spot gold hit a high of $1,641.20 an ounce, the
highest since May 7. It was up 1.2 percent at $1,638.83 an ounce
by 2:22 p.m. (1822 GMT).
U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up
$19.90 at $1,642.90.
Trading volume was 20 percent below its 30-day average,
preliminary Reuters data showed, rebounding after it logged just
72,000 lots to set a 2012 low on Monday.
Silver climbed 2.2 percent to $29.41 an ounce.
Earlier in the session, it reached its highest since early June
at $29.51 an ounce.
Talk of more stimulus ran rampant as Greece's prime minister
meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President
Francois Hollande and Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker this
week to try and secure more funding from the European Union,
International Monetary Fund and ECB.
Traders referred to a story in Britain's The Daily Telegraph
newspaper, which said it could confirm earlier reports in German
media that ECB experts were examining plans to effectively cap
Spanish and Italian bond yields.
However, an ECB spokeswoman, when asked about the Telegraph
story, referred back to the ECB's statement on Monday when it
said it was misleading to report on policy decisions that had
not been taken.
Platinum touched its highest since early May at
$1,508.25 an ounce and was last at $1,501.90 an ounce, up 1.1
percent. Its recent rise has made it this year's best performing
precious metal, up more than 7 percent.
On charts, platinum's 8 percent rally in the last four
sessions lifted its relative strength index (RSI) above 70, an
area that often indicates a market is overbought.
(Platinum overbought signal: r.reuters.com/peq22t )
Platinum has been the biggest gainer of the last seven days,
up more than $120 an ounce week-on-week on Tuesday, due to
violence that killed more than 40 people at a mine operated by
Lonmin, the world's third-largest platinum producer.
Spot palladium rose 2.8 percent at $620.40 an ounce.
It also rode gold and platinum's coat-tails to its highest since
late June on Tuesday at $626.
2:22 PM EDT LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT
SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL
US Gold DEC 1642.90 19.90 1.2 1620.80 1643.60 114,412
US Silver SEP 29.428 0.835 2.9 28.610 29.460 37,510
US Plat OCT 1507.80 9.60 0.6 1479.60 1511.00 10,889
US Pall SEP 624.20 16.50 2.7 597.40 626.15 4,903
Gold 1638.83 18.74 1.2 1619.40 1641.20
Silver 29.410 0.640 2.2 28.690 29.510
Platinum 1501.90 16.70 1.1 1483.80 1508.25
Palladium 620.40 16.90 2.8 603.90 626.00
TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY
CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG
US Gold 123,418 155,146 185,326 17.53 0.82
US Silver 44,154 39,460 56,400 24.41 1.88
US Platinum 11,672 13,080 9,529 22.88 -0.13
US Palladium 5,918 5,667 4,587
(Additional reporting by Jan Harvey in London.; Editing by Bob
Burgdorfer and Andre Grenon)