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Gold Futures Advance on Stimulus Bets; Platinum Jumps

Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Gold rose to a one-week high amid speculation that the U.S. will announce more stimulus measures to bolster the economy. Platinum jumped to the costliest in two months on supply concerns in South Africa.

Damage to the labor market from the recession is reversible, according to Federal Reserve research, leaving open the possibility that additional stimulus may reduce joblessness, according to a study released by the New York Fed. Ben S. Bernanke, the U.S. Fed chairman, may address monetary options at a conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at the end of August.

“The murmurs about easing are back, and some people want to move into gold before the Fed makes any announcement later this month,” Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Gold futures for December delivery gained 0.2 percent to settle at $1,623 an ounce at 1:41 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the fourth straight gain. Earlier, the price reached $1,624.50, the highest for a most-active contract since Aug. 13.

The metal surged 70 percent from the end of December 2008 to June 2011 as the Fed kept borrowing costs at a record low and bought $2.3 trillion of debt in two rounds of so-called quantitative easing. In 2010 at the Kansas City Fed’s annual monetary symposium in Jackson Hole, Bernanke foreshadowed a $600 billion bond-purchase program.

South African Violence

Platinum futures for October delivery rose 1.7 percent to $1,498.20 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price reached $1,498.60, the highest since June 18, following violence at a mine in South Africa, the world’s top producer.

Forty-four people died at Lonmin Plc’s Marikana mine in the North West Province last week after an illegal strike by 3,000 workers and clashes between rival labor unions.

Losses in South African platinum output were about 10,000 ounces in six days and may rise to 70,000 ounces, UBS AG said in a report. The metal is used in jewelry and pollution-control devices in cars.

Silver futures for December delivery gained 2.1 percent to $28.678 an ounce on the Comex, the biggest gain since Aug. 3.

Palladium futures for September delivery rose 0.4 percent to $607.70 on the Nymex.

To contact the reporter for this story: Debarati Roy in New York at droy5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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