Gold closes up 0.4% to end three-week slide

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Gold closes up 0.4% to end three-week slide

Gold advanced, ending three weeks of losses, as the biggest price drop in a month may have lured buyers. Platinum and palladium climbed.

Bullion for immediate delivery gained as much as 0.4 percent to $1,327.78 an ounce and traded at $1,326.25 at 3 p.m. in Singapore. Prices that fell 1.6 percent on Thursday, the most since Oct. 1, are down 1.8 percent this week on speculation the Federal Reserve will pare stimulus sooner than expected.

The U.S. central bank said this week there are signs of “underlying strength” in the largest economy even as policy makers maintained the $85 billion-a-month bond buying, signaling the possibility of reduced purchases as soon as December, according to Citigroup and Barclays. Economists surveyed Oct. 17-18 had predicted the Fed would begin tapering in March.

“While monetary policy remains accommodative, the downside may be limited for now,” said Mark To, head of research at Wing Fung Financial Group, a Hong Kong-based trader and refiner. While the Fed’s decision to stand pat this time was expected, what policy makers said had some Fed watchers speculating that a policy change could come sooner than expected, To said.

Gold tumbled 21 percent in 2013 after rallying for 12 years, as unprecedented money printing failed to spur inflation and as investors sold metal at a record pace from exchange- traded products. Assets in bullion-backed ETPs contracted for a 10th month in October and are down 29 percent this year after climbing every year since the first product was listed in 2003.

Gold for delivery in December traded 0.2 percent higher at $1,325.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York after dropping 1.9 percent Thursday. Spot silver rose 0.2 percent to $21.9557 an ounce after slumping 3.7 percent Thursday, heading for a weekly loss. Platinum advanced 0.5 percent $1,456.33 an ounce, poised for a third weekly increase. Palladium climbed 0.6 percent to $741.55 an ounce.

South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers said it would strike at Northam Platinum Nov. 3, while Solidarity rejected an offer by Lonmin. Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union voted on Oct. 28 to strike at Impala Platinum Holdings’ operations.


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