Platinum hits 10-month high but ends flat; gold up

July 2, 2014

New York (July 3)   Platinum ended flat on Wednesday as investors took profits after the precious metal rallied to a 10-month high on lingering long-term supply worries despite the end of a strike by South African miners.

Gold prices edged up on a second consecutive day of strong buying by exchange-traded funds.

A five-month strike by South African platinum miners did little to lift prices, as industrial users tapped above-ground stocks and investors stayed on the sidelines. But analysts said that when prices did not tumble after resolution of the strike last week, buyers were encouraged.

"No-one quite knew how the price would react when the strike ended, but if you're an investor, you don't want to take the risk," Macquarie analyst Matthew Turner said.

"There's a growing realization that production is going to be weaker for some time," he added.

Spot platinum inched down 40 cents to $1,502.50 an ounce by 3:37 p.m. EDT (1937 GMT). It hit a session high of $1,517.50, its highest since September, 2013.

The NYMEX platinum contract for October delivery settled down 20 cents at $1,511.50 an ounce.

Spot palladium was up 0.3 percent at $852.75 an ounce.

Among other precious metals, spot gold edged up 0.1 percent to $1,327.21, while U.S. COMEX gold futures for August delivery settled up $4.30 an ounce at $1,330.90.

Gold has benefited from a second day of inflows into the top bullion-backed fund ahead of the U.S. jobs report. Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 5.69 tonnes to 796.39 tonnes on Tuesday.

Bullion drew support from a comment by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that made investors more hopeful the U.S. central bank will not raise interest rates soon.

Yellen said that heading off the U.S. housing bubble with higher interest rates would have caused major economic damage. She added that monetary policy faces "significant limitations" as a tool to counter financial stability risks.

The yellow metal largely ignored a report showing U.S. private-sector hiring hit a 1-1/2-year high in June, however.

Spot silver was up 0.5 percent to $21.12 an ounce.

SOURCE: Reuters

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