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Gold Futures Rise Most in Three Weeks on Asian Demand

Gold futures jumped the most in three weeks on speculation that demand for bars and jewelry will increase in Asia. Platinum posted the biggest gain in more than two months.

The premium to take immediate delivery of gold in China was $23 an ounce today, compared with an average of $16.21 in December and $18.72 for all of last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The Reserve Bank of India on Dec. 31 eased some controls on imports. Two days ago, U.S. futures touched $1,181.40, the lowest since late June.

“We do see physical demand from Asia continuing to emerge, and India partly easing restriction will also increase demand,” Steve Scacalossi, a New York-based vice president at TD Securities Inc., said in a report. “The market is looking to buy dips now.”

Gold futures for February delivery rose 1.9 percent to settle at $1,225.20 at 1:35 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Dec. 10.

In 2013, gold tumbled 28 percent, the most since 1981 and the first drop since 2000. Some investors lost faith in the metal as an alternative investment amid a U.S. equity rally to a record and muted inflation.

In the first three quarters of 2013, demand in China, the top buyer, was 797.8 metric tons, followed by India at 715.7 tons, according to the London-based World Gold Council.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery gained 2.2 percent to $1,404.60 an ounce, the biggest gain since Oct. 17.

Silver futures for March delivery jumped 3.9 percent to $20.128 an ounce on the Comex, and palladium futures for March delivery advanced 1.7 percent to $730.25 an ounce on the Nymex, the largest increases since Dec. 4.

In 2013, silver plunged 36 percent, platinum dropped 11 percent and palladium rose 2.1 percent.

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