* Technical pressure adds to platinum selling below $1,700
* Gold cautious ahead of FOMC meeting, ignores central bank
* Russia, Turkey sharply added gold reserves in December
* Coming up: U.S. consumer confidence Tuesday
By Frank Tang
NEW YORK, Jan 28 Platinum posted its biggest
one-day drop in over a month on Monday, as news the world's
largest platinum producer Anglo American Platinum agreed to
postpone massive job cuts eased supply fears.
Gold also edged down on selling related to option
expirations and as investors took to the sidelines ahead of a
Federal Reserve meeting and the all-important U.S. nonfarm
payrolls data later in the week.
Platinum fell 1.2 percent after South Africa, Amplats
and labor unions agreed to postpone restructuring that
could lead to 14,000 job cuts to allow for more talks.
"Since we've failed so many times above $1,700, there are
quite a number of eager sellers at this level. Any type of
fundamental support such as the Amplats news could easily put
more fuel into the fire," said Sean McGillivray, head of asset
allocation at Great Pacific Wealth Management.
Platinum group metals initially rose after an encouraging
U.S. durable goods report also boosted buying of the
Spot platinum was down 1.2 percent at $1,661 an ounce
by 3:13 p.m. EST (2013 GMT), having hit $1,655.24, the lowest
since Jan. 16.
U.S. NYMEX platinum futures for April delivery
settled down $32.70 at $1,662.20 an ounce, with trading volume
about 20 percent above its 250-day average, preliminary Reuters
Technical selling also weighed on platinum as the metal has
not ended above $1,700 since early October.
Despite Monday's decline, platinum has still climbed 10
percent since the end of December due to worries about a
widening market deficit after late last year's deadly South
African mine labor violence and Amplats' job cuts.
South Africa accounts for around 80 percent of the world's
Increasingly bullish bets by hedge funds and money managers
also triggered Monday's pullback. Speculative net longs in
platinum and palladium contracts
both rose to all-time highs in the week ended Jan. 22, data from
the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.
Palladium eased 0.2 percent to $736.22 an ounce.
RUSSIA, TURKEY ADDED GOLD IN DECEMBER
On gold, the market largely ignored news that central banks
in Russia and Turkey raised their gold reserves in December,
while Iraq cut its holdings by a quarter in November.
Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,654.50 an ounce,
extending last week's 1.5 percent decline, its sharpest weekly
loss in a month.
U.S. COMEX gold futures futures for February delivery
settled down $3.70 an ounce at $1,652.90, with volume about 60
percent above its 250-day average due to the February-April
rollover ahead of February's first-notice day Friday.
Selling related to the expiration of COMEX February options
after market close on Monday and over-the-counter option expiry
on Tuesday also weighed on bullion, traders said.
Analysts said the Federal Open Market Committee policy
statement on Wednesday and U.S. nonfarm payrolls data on Friday
will likely provide the next short-term direction for gold.
Silver fell 0.7 percent to $30.83 an ounce.
3:13 PM EST LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT
SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL
US Gold FEB 1652.90 -3.70 -0.2 1651.00 1661.60 169,137
US Silver MAR 30.78 -0.426 -1.4 30.745 31.320 33,520
US Plat APR 1662.20 -32.70 -1.9 1659.70 1699.90 11,991
US Pall MAR 740.55 -0.45 -0.1 736.50 749.55 8,040
Gold 1654.50 -3.99 -0.2 1652.85 1662.20
Silver 30.830 -0.230 -0.7 30.760 31.300
Platinum 1661.00 -20.00 -1.2 1655.24 1696.00
Palladium 736.22 -1.28 -0.2 739.50 747.50
TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY
CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG
US Gold 271,513 156,919 174,507 14.15 0.31
US Silver 35,599 42,609 53,449 20.17 0.26
US Platinum 12,203 15,366 10,880 16.46 -0.50
US Palladium 8,143 3,258 4,790