Gold rallied for a third consecutive session on Wednesday, boosted by broad weakness in the dollar and robust Asian consumer demand, while anticipation of more resilient global growth took platinum to 30-month highs.
Providing additional support to gold was data that reinforced the view that the U.S. housing sector continues to struggle, along with a 53 percent slide in Goldman Sachs (GS.N) fourth-quarter earnings that undermined equities. .N
Strong data out of Germany, the largest euro zone economy, and a series of successful peripheral debt sales helped assuage concerns about the euro zone's finances and pushed the euro to its highest in a month against the dollar.
Spot gold was up 0.6 percent at $1,376.33 by 9:30 a.m. EST, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.6 percent at $1,375.70.
The broader concerns driving gold prices still remain intact, said Barclays Capital analyst Suki Cooper.
Given that we're now in the run-up to the Lunar holidays, we have seen some strong physical demand materializing in China and reports about bar premiums trading at two-year highs and mint shortages, so there's good physical demand on the downside providing a cushion to prices.
U.S. stocks .SPX eased in early trade after Goldman Sachs posted a decline in profit on a drop in trading revenue, spoiling hopes that Wall Street's most influential bank might buck a volatile climate that has hurt rivals such as Citigroup (C.N).
Gold has fallen more than 3 percent this month following a 30 percent gain last year as investors who had racked up gains by betting on the metal closed their positions and funneled their cash into risk-linked assets such as equities and industrial commodities.
With the headwind of a strong dollar dying down for now, gold has been able to pare some of these losses, although many analysts say rising interest rates and better growth figures could leave it prone to more declines in the weeks to come.
Gold's inverse correlation to the dollar index .DXY has been eroded in the past two weeks to reach its weakest since mid-December, on a one-month rolling basis, meaning that the bullion price has been moving more frequently in lockstep with the U.S. currency.
Active buying in Asia continued to buoy market sentiment, and gold is likely to trade in a range between $1,370 and $1,378, with a possibility of breaching the upside, said Darren Heathcote, head of trading at Investec Australia.
Premiums for gold bars are at their highest in two years right now, boosted in large part by Chinese buying head of the Lunar New Year in February.
Platinum rallied to its highest since July 2008, taking heart from the strength in global equities .MIWD00000PUS and other industrial commodities.
Both platinum and palladium have seen robust fund interest since the start of the year, based on expectations for robust growth in emerging economy car markets and an improvement in the European auto industry.
Heavy rainfall in South Africa, the world's largest producer of platinum, has affected coal supply to power plants and once again raised the potential for disruptions to platinum output, which has lent additional support to the price.
Spot platinum rose to $1,844 an ounce, its highest since July 2008, before easing to show a 1 percent gain on the day at $1,841.99.
Both have had a solid start to the year, which has been for platinum as much as palladium (because of) fund buying based on worries about South African production, said Mitsubishi analyst Matthew Turner.
Palladium held close to its highest in close to ten years, rising 1.7 percent to $823.97.