Gold Trades Near 16-Week High as Ukraine Weighed Against Demand

Feb 25, 2014 8:43 am ET

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Gold traded near a 16-week high in New York as investors weighed turmoil in Ukraine against the outlook for slowing bullion demand at higher prices.

Ukraine’s Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov pushed back a parliamentary vote on a national unity government to Feb. 27 from today as he attempts to win agreement with protest leaders who orchestrated last week’s ouster of Viktor Yanukovych. Physical demand for gold from Asia is “muted,” Standard Bank Group Ltd. said in a report yesterday.

After slumping the most since 1981 last year, gold is set for the first back-to-back monthly increase since August as data that trailed estimates fueled concern the U.S. recovery may be faltering. Prices gained even as the Federal Reserve lowered its bond-buying program by $10 billion a month in January and again in February, reducing the purchases to $65 billion.

“We have noticed fresh interest in bullion in light of the intensifying unrest in Ukraine,” James Steel, an analyst at HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., wrote in a report e-mailed late yesterday. “While paper investment demand for bullion has improved, we have noticed a slowing in physical demand.”

Gold for April delivery was little changed at $1,336.90 on the Comex in New York by 8:27 a.m. Futures reached $1,339.20 yesterday, the highest since Oct. 31. Futures trading volume was about average for the past 100 days for this time of day, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. Bullion for immediate delivery was little changed at $1,337.66 in London.

ETP Holdings

Escalating tension in Ukraine and concern that a slowdown in China is deepening increased demand for a protection of wealth. Holdings in gold-backed exchange-traded products rose for a third day yesterday, increasing 1 metric ton to 1,740.2 tons, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Assets reached the lowest since October 2009 on Feb. 19.

Gold’s 14-day relative strength index was at 72.99 today, above the level of 70 that signals to those who study charts that prices may be set to decline.

Silver for May delivery fell 1 percent to $21.865 an ounce in New York. It reached $22.215 yesterday, the highest since Oct. 31. Palladium for June delivery declined 0.9 percent to $738.50 an ounce. Platinum for April delivery lost 0.3 percent to $1,437.60 an ounce. Both metals touched one-month highs yesterday.

In South Africa, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration will meet with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union tomorrow after yesterday meeting representatives of the world’s three biggest platinum producers to resolve a strike that began Jan. 23.

--With assistance from Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne. Editors: Sharon Lindores, John Deane