Gold trades within narrow levels, platinum and palladium advance on industrial-demand forecast

Precious metals advanced sharply yesterday as investors tend to hold more metals against the high level of uncertainty, where investors were still weighing the Greek second bailout package and the private sector involvement in the deal along with the unclear European Central Bank role in fighting back the debt crisis.

However today the metals are trading within narrow levels since the opening in Asia, where we can see gold is fluctuating heavily within a narrow range as bulls and bears forces are almost equal, as some tend to take profit on the metal after the huge gains recorded yesterday, while others are still demanding the metal to protect their wealth against any surprises in the market.

Spot gold shed so far 0.04% or $0.70 per ounce after the opening of $1759.13 per ounce to currently trade around $1758.43 per ounce. The metal set so far the highest at $1760.35 and the lowest at $1754.30 per ounce.

Metals in general are biased to the downside today; however, platinum was able to record gains, where the industrial-linked metal was affected sharply by the upbeat manufacturing performance in China, where according to the HSBC flash manufacturing PMI for February, the Chinese sector remained contracted in the month, yet it improve to 49.7 from 48.8, adding positivity to the market that China is recovering from the debt crisis in Europe which triggered the global slowdown.

Eyes will also be concentrated today on the manufacturing and services sectors in the euro-area region in general and in Germany specifically, with expectations the euro area region manufacturing and services sectors could have improved further in February, while the German sectors are also projected better this month.

Other fundamentals to watch today are the Bank of England Minutes and housing data from the world's largest economy, tracking how the Monetary Policy Committee voted on the interest rates and the asset purchases program, and then tracking the housing sector performance in January.

Among other precious metals, silver shed so far 0.07% or $0.02 per ounce to currently trade around $34.29 an ounce, compared with the opening level of $34.31 per ounce. The metal reached so far a high of $34.38 and a low of $34.15 per ounce.

Platinum however advanced 1.17% or $19.75 per ounce, trading now around $1706.50 per ounce, approaching gold which has been more expensive than Platinum late in 2011 after the escalating debt crisis and the global slowdown led investors to hold more of the shiny metal as a safe haven. The metal recorded so far the highest at $1709.75 and the lowest at $1686.00 per ounce, after the opening of $1686.25.

Palladium also gained today, adding $4.00 per ounce or 0.56% to $714.00 an ounce after the opening of $710.00 per ounce. The metal also has an industrial value and was supported by the manufacturing data released by China. The metal set a high of $716.88 and a low of $708.00 per ounce.