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Gold Ends Higher as Bargain Hunting Ensues
Mar 20,2012 09:19CST
industry news
Gold futures ended higher Monday, shaking off initial weakness as bargain hunters snapped up the metal after sharp weekly losses.

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Gold futures ended higher Monday, shaking off initial weakness as bargain hunters snapped up the metal after sharp weekly losses and other commodities as well as U.S. equities also posted gains.

Gold for April delivery /quotes/zigman/660065 GCJ2 -0.23%   added $11.50, or 0.7%, to settle at $1,667.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“A lot of it has to do with bargain hunting,” said Rohit Savant, an analyst with CPM Group in New York. The lower prices after a weekly route enticed investors back, he added.

Gold lost 3.3% the previous week as mostly upbeat U.S. macroeconomic data cut down on the metal‘s safe haven appeal.

Market participants are “cautious after volatility in the past week and with few macro numbers today. We expect some more consolidation at the start of the week,” analysts at VTB Capital said in a note to clients Monday.

Money managers cut their net long positions, or bets gold will go higher, for the second week in a row, according to data released Friday by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Money managers “can be seen as partly responsible for the recent decrease in the price of gold ... What is more, we may also see a weakening of physical demand,” analysts at Commerzbank said in a note to clients.

India last week decided to raise import duties on gold for a second time, and the Bombay Bullion Association has expressed demand concerns for gold in India, recently surpassed by China as the world’s largest consumer of the metal.

The association expects the rise in gold prices with the higher duties will see imports plummet 35% this year, as quoted by Commerzbank. In contrast, local gold retailers expect the increase in duties to have virtually no impact on demand.

“Lower physical gold demand could block any renewed climb in price,” Commerzbank analysts said.

Other metals posted gains, with silver turning positive around mid-session and settling 1.1% higher.

May silver /quotes/zigman/662452 SIK2 -0.20%  advanced 4 cents to end the day at $32.96 per ounce.

Copper for the same month /quotes/zigman/660068 HGK2 -0.03%  gained 3 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $3.91 a pound.

April platinum /quotes/zigman/2304887 PLJ2 -0.25%  rose $9.20, or 0.6%, to finish at $1,684.70 an ounce.

Platinum last week regained its status as the priciest metal. Platinum is usually more expensive than gold and traditionally fetches higher futures prices, but it had changed hands for less than gold beginning mid year 2011.

Sister metal palladium for June delivery /quotes/zigman/2304937 PAM2 +0.01%  gained $5.90, or 0.8%, to $707.60 an ounce.

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