Spot Gold Declines on Haven-Demand Concern; Platinum Slumps

Gold declined on speculation that haven demand may wane as reports from the U.S. to China signaled improving growth in the world’s two largest economies. Platinum dropped for a second day, retreating from the highest since 2011.

Gold for immediate delivery lost as much as 0.2 percent to $1,668.05 an ounce and traded at $1,671.05 at 10:25 a.m. in Singapore. Prices are little changed this week after declining 0.4 percent yesterday. Gold for April delivery was little changed at $1,670.60 an ounce on the Comex in New York.

The metal posted 12th annual gain last year as stimulus programs in the U.S., Europe and Japan spurred demand for a hedge against currency debasement and potential inflation. A report from the U.S. Labor Department yesterday showed that the number of applications for jobless benefits fell 5,000 to 366,000 in the week to Feb. 2. China’s total exports climbed 25 percent in January from a year earlier, the customs administration said today, beating estimates. Gold is down 0.3 percent this year, compared with platinum’s 11 percent advance.

“We’re seeing people looking at the broader economy, particularly the U.S. economy, and feeling relatively positive and selling gold positions they accumulated when things were looking less positive,” said Nick Trevethan, an analyst at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Singapore. “Some of the support from physical buying, particularly from China, that we’ve seen so far this year is likely fading with the upcoming Lunar New Year.”

China Imports

Imports into mainland China from Hong Kong rose 94 percent to a record last year. The mainland imported 834,502 kilograms (834.5 metric tons), including scrap and coins, from about 431,215 kilograms in 2011, Bloomberg calculations based on data this week from the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong government. The country’s financial markets will be closed next week to mark the Lunar New Year holiday.

Spot platinum fell as much as 0.7 percent to $1,706.75 an ounce and traded at $1,715.75. The price, which is up 1.9 percent this week, reached the highest level since September 2011 yesterday, and investors boosted holdings to a record, on concern supply may drop in South Africa, the largest producer.

Spot palladium dropped as much as 1.3 percent to $741.75 an ounce, and was at $745.25, poised for a weekly loss. Silver for immediate delivery was little changed at $31.50 an ounce, also poised for a weekly loss.

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