Gold and silver futures rose for the first time in three sessions as a dispute between Greece’s prime minister and international lenders escalated, boosting demand for the precious metals as a haven.
Greece’s bonds and stocks fell as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras showed little sign of backing down in a standoff with creditors as he began three days of debates on his government’s policy plans. In January, gold rose 8 percent, partly on European economic concerns.
Holdings in global exchange-traded products backed by gold increased on Friday to a four-month high, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. They have climbed 5 percent this year. The spot price of the metal priced in euros has gained 12 percent this year.
“It seems like Greece is separating itself more and more from the euro zone, and I think they’re really causing problems there,” Phil Streible, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “You might be seeing people diversify out of euro currency and repositioning into the gold market.”
Gold futures for April delivery rose 0.6 percent to settle at $1,241.50 an ounce at 1:48 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The price dropped 2.4 percent in the previous two sessions on gains in the U.S. economy.
Greece will seek about 10 billion euros ($11.3 billion) in short-term financing in an effort to stave off a cash crunch.
Greek demand for gold coins is rising as investors search for a haven from the country’s political turmoil, according to the U.K. Royal Mint.
Silver futures for March delivery advanced 2.3 percent to $17.07 an ounce, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Jan. 30. The metal slumped 4 percent in the previous two sessions.
Platinum futures for April delivery dropped 0.1 percent to $1,220.40 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price touched $1,210, the lowest price since Jan. 6.
The spot gold-platinum ratio rose 1 percent to 1.018 at 2:44 p.m., heading for the biggest gain since Jan. 2, according to Bloomberg generic prices.
Gold for immediate delivery has settled above platinum since Jan. 15.
Palladium declined 0.2 percent to $779.65 an ounce on the Nymex.