NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gold hit its highest in more than a week on Monday as risk appetite increased, while silver and platinum group metals also rose sharply as economic optimism boosted demand for industrial commodities.
Palladium, which has had the best performance among precious metals year-to-date, was lifted by heavy buying as investors covered short positions after the price had dropped about $30 last week.
Dollar weakness against the euro amid easing concerns about Greece and better physical demand from India led to buying in gold and other precious metals, said Peter Buchanan, senior economist of CIBC World Markets.
“Stronger-than-expected economic data in China and Europe reduces risk aversion, helping the euro and gold and other commodities,” he said.
Palladium, platinum and silver, widely used as industrial metals, rallied after a report said that China’s annual economic growth will reach 12 percent this quarter following strong industrial output growth last month.
Spot gold was at $1,108.45 an ounce at 3:01 p.m. EDT, versus $1,105.10 late in New York on Friday. Earlier in the session, bullion reached a high of $1,114.45 an ounce, the loftiest level
U.S. April gold futures settled up $6 at $1,110.30 an ounce on the COMEX division of the NYMEX.
The euro strengthened as debt-stricken Greece sold seven-year bonds, and gold’s safe-haven appeal also increased as investors remained anxious about the country’s long-term fiscal health.
“The market thinks this Greek problem has been solved. We saw excellent physical demand last week and it’s continuing,” said Afshin Nabavi, head of trading at MKS Finance.
Higher-than-expected gains in German inflation also suggested decent pick-up in growth in the euro zone.
“Gold is attracting money in its own right as a currency. Gold is still an alternative to currencies, which is helping to keep prices buoyant,” said Simon Weeks, head of precious metals at the Bank of Nova Scotia.
CHINA, GLD POSITIVE
Positive investment demand amid gains in the equities market also triggered inflow into the world’s biggest gold-backed exchange traded funds.
Month to date, holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, commonly called by its ticker symbol GLD, has gained about 18 tonnes, or nearly 2 percent to 1,124.65 tonnes.
James Ross, senior managing director at State Street Global Advisors, which runs GLD, said that new allocation and investor overweighing due to concerns about the dollar and inflation have been benefiting the ETF.
In the physical sector, the World Gold Council said in its first report on China, the world’s fastest growing gold user, that gold demand will double over the next decade from current levels due to jewelry consumption and investment needs.
In other precious metals, palladium was at $470.50 versus $455.50, having earlier hit $474.50, its highest since March 19, and platinum was at $1,625.50 versus $1,594.00.
Year to date, palladium was up 16 percent, while platinum was up 11 percent.
Silver was at $17.35 an ounce versus $16.85 at New York’s notional close on Friday.
Additional reporting by Maytaal Angel in London, Editing by Rene Pastor
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