May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Gold traded below $1,300 an ounce, little changed this week, as investors assessed the health of the U.S. economy and the impact on monetary stimulus. Platinum and palladium were poised for a second week of gains.
Bullion for immediate delivery traded at $1,294.13 an ounce at 2:14 p.m. in Singapore, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The metal climbed 0.2 percent to $1,294.10 yesterday after data showed U.S. jobless claims rose more than forecast.
Gold has advanced 7.7 percent this year partly on tension in Ukraine and concern that the U.S. economic recovery may be fragile. Applications for unemployment benefits increased to 326,000 in the week ended May 17, the Labor Department said. That compares with a forecast for a gain to 310,000 in a Bloomberg survey and a drop to a seven-year low a week earlier.
“U.S. data continues to be mixed, which doesn’t help investment decisions, and that keeps gold in a tight trading range,” said Lv Jie, a Hangzhou-based analyst at Cinda Futures Co., a unit of one of four funds in China created to buy bad debt from banks.
Gold for August delivery traded at $1,294.70 an ounce on the Comex in New York from $1,295.20 yesterday. Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust, the largest exchange-traded product backed by bullion, were unchanged yesterday after sliding to 776.89 metric tons on May 21, the lowest since December 2008.
Silver for immediate delivery declined 0.3 percent to $19.4575 an ounce, set for a second week of gains.
Platinum slid 0.3 percent to $1,486.68 an ounce after climbing to $1,496.38 yesterday, the highest level since September. Palladium lost 0.1 percent to $835 an ounce after reaching $839 yesterday, the highest price since August 2011.
A strike over pay at the South African operations of Anglo American Platinum Ltd., Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Lonmin Plc has crippled output for almost 18 weeks. South Africa is the largest platinum producer and second-biggest palladium producer.
--With assistance from Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne.