Gold Rises Most in Two Weeks on Outlook for U.S. Stimulus

Gold rose the most in two weeks on speculation that the Federal Reserve will expand U.S. stimulus measures, boosting demand for the metal as a store of value. Palladium extended a rally to a 16-month high.

The central bank, starting a two-day meeting today, will continue to buy debt until the first quarter of 2014, according to Bloomberg survey of economists. Gold touched a four-month low on Jan. 4, after minutes of a Fed meeting showed some policy makers favored ending monthly bond purchases this year.

“The consensus is that the Fed will continue with the easing until the growth gains traction,” Chuck Butler, the president of EverBank World Markets, said in a telephone interview from St. Louis.

Gold futures for April delivery climbed 0.5 percent to settle at $1,662.70 an ounce at 1:38 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest increase for a most-active contract since Jan. 15.

The metal gained 7 percent last year as U.S., Europe and Japan announced stimulus programs.

Silver futures for March delivery rose 1.3 percent to $31.184 an ounce on the Comex, ending a three-session slide.

The U.S. Mint resumed sales of American Eagle silver coins after transactions were suspended for more than a week because of a lack of inventory.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for March delivery gained 1.2 percent to $749.75 an ounce. Earlier, the metal reached $750.90, the highest since Sept. 9, 2011.

Platinum futures for April delivery rose 1 percent to $1,678.90 an ounce on the Nymex.