PRECIOUS-Gold up 1 pct, above $1,350/oz, after U.S. jobless claims

Frank Tang and Jan Harvey
Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 | 4:42 PM ET

* Gold at one-month high on hopes Fed to keep stimulus

* US gold futures open interest at two-month high

* Bullion breaks above 50-day moving average resistance

* Coming up: US durable goods, consumer confidence Fri.

NEW YORK/LONDON, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Gold rose 1 percent on Thursday, breaking above $1,350 an ounce for the first time in more than a month, on rekindled buying prompted by expectations the Federal Reserve will continue its monetary stimulus due to disappointing U.S. jobless claims data. Bullion prices rallied after the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week. Technical buying also lifted gold after it breached key resistance at its 50-day moving average. Also, analysts cited a two-month high in the open interest for U.S. gold futures, a liquidity gauge, for bullion's gains. "With open interest in gold growing, it indicates new business is not just because of short covering, and that gold buyers may keep a steady course," said George Gero, vice president of RBC Capital Markets. Spot gold rose 1 percent to $1,345.70 an ounce by 3:43 p.m. EDT (1943 GMT), having earlier hit $1,351.61, its highest since Sept. 20. U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up $16.30 an ounce at $1,350.30, with trading volume about 20 percent below their 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data shows. A two-week U.S. government shutdown this month increased expectations that the U.S. central bank will delay reducing the size of its $85 billion monthly bond-buying stimulus until next year, supporting gold prices. Heavy positioning in the Comex November $1,400 call options could provide upward pressure for bullion prices. "The $1,400 (call options) have the largest open interest by far, with almost 1.9 million ounces. This could prove a magnet for spot should we continue to rally," TD Securities precious metals trading desk said in a note. Gold was also underpinned by a weaker U.S. dollar and by U.S. Treasury bond yields hovering near a three-month low after the weekly jobless claims data. Positive manufacturing data from China, the world's second-largest gold consumer, also helped support gold prices on Thursday, traders said. In research news, Goldman Sachs said it expects gold prices to fall to $1,144 an ounce in 2014, driven by improving U.S. economic data, rising real rates and the commencement of tapering of U.S. monetary stimulus. Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.8 percent at $22.67 an ounce, while platinum also rose 1.1 percent to $1,445.75 an ounce and palladium inched down 0.1 percent to $743.47 an ounce. Platinum group metal investors are now digesting news that a powerful mine worker union in South Africa has been granted permission by a government mediator to call a strike against Impala Platinum, the world's second largest platinum producer.

3:43 PM EDT LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL US Gold DEC 1350.30 16.30 1.2 1330.20 1352.30 124,001 US Silver DEC 22.822 0.205 0.9 22.510 22.910 30,491 US Plat JAN 1456.20 16.60 1.2 1431.90 1457.50 7,608 US Pall DEC 747.80 1.70 0.2 742.50 751.05 3,966 Gold 1345.70 13.96 1.0 1330.88 1351.61 Silver 22.670 0.180 0.8 22.520 22.850 Platinum 1445.75 15.45 1.1 1435.75 1452.49 Palladium 743.47 -0.53 -0.1 745.77 748.00 TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG US Gold 129,740 162,049 190,172 20.22 -0.15 US Silver 32,020 44,629 55,982 29.97 -0.89 US Platinum 7,652 14,314 13,019 20.33 0.00 US Palladium 4,280 3,946 5,666