Gold Advances in New York on Purchases by Central Banks

Gold climbed the most in three weeks as the central banks of Russia and Kazakhstan increased bullion reserves last month.

The countries expanded their gold reserves for a fourth straight month in January, data on the International Monetary Fund’s website show. Buying out of China was “impressive” last week and is continuing, Joni Teves, an analyst at UBS AG in London, wrote today in a report.

“Central bank buying remains a feature and is providing some support,” Steve Scacalossi, a New York-based vice president at TD Securities Inc., said in an e-mail. “We are also hearing of strong Chinese demand at lower levels.”

Gold futures for April delivery rose 0.9 percent to settle at $1,586.60 an ounce at 1:46 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Jan. 30.

Bullion retreated in the previous three weeks as global economic concerns eased and minutes of a Federal Reserve meeting showed some policy makers said the central bank should be ready to vary the pace of its monthly bond purchases.

Hedge funds and other money managers cut their gold net-long position, or bets on higher prices, by 40 percent to 42,318 futures and options in the week to Feb. 19, the lowest since 2008, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

Silver futures for May delivery increased 1.8 percent to $29.047 an ounce in New York. Futures trading volume was 75 percent more than the average in the past 100 days for this time of day.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum for April delivery gained 0.8 percent to $1,620.70 an ounce, the first advance in four sessions.

Palladium for March delivery jumped 1.9 percent to $749.05 an ounce, the biggest gain in four weeks. Futures trading volume was more than triple the average in the past 100 days for this time of day.

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