Gold Holdings Shrink Most in Seven Months on Recovery Signs

Gold holdings in exchange-traded products shrank by the most in seven months as data in the U.S. added to signs that a global economic recovery is strengthening, eroding demand for haven investments.

Assets contracted 0.5 percent last week, the biggest such decline since July, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The holdings, which reached a record in December, dropped to a three-month low of 2,602.335 metric tons on Feb. 15. Billionaire investors George Soros and Louis Moore Bacon cut their stakes in gold ETPs last quarter, while John Paulson maintained his share, government filings showed last week.

Analysts from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Credit Suisse Group AG are calling for gold to peak in 2013 after a 12-year bull run as the global economy rebounds. Manufacturing in the New York region unexpectedly expanded in February, and consumer confidence rose to a three-month high, separate reports showed last week. China’s economy, the largest after the U.S., may expand 8.1 percent this year from 7.9 percent in 2012, according to the median of analysts’ forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.

“It’s still early days to declare that we’re out of the economic doldrums, however, with data showing signs of improvement, investors would rather put their money into riskier assets,” said Sun Yonggang, a macroeconomic strategist at Everbright Futures Co., a unit of one of China’s largest state-owned investment companies.

Six-Month Low

Gold for April delivery gained as much as 0.6 percent to $1,618.80 an ounce, and traded at $1,615.50 at 2:32 p.m. in Singapore. The metal slumped to $1,596.70 on Feb. 15, the cheapest since August.

Bets by hedge funds and other large speculators on higher prices tumbled to the lowest since December 2008 in the week to Feb. 12, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

Bullion has fallen 3.6 percent this year. Platinum and palladium have gained at least 7.8 percent as faster growth drives demand for the industrial metals amid concern about lower supplies. Platinum’s premium to gold widened to an almost 18-month high last week.

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