Futures & Commodities

Gold ends around $1,306 on ECB hopes, safe-haven

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Gold ended above $1,300 an ounce on Wednesday after the dollar and global equities came under pressure as investors awaited confirmation of further stimulus from the European Central Bank.

Bullion was also lifted by strong gains in platinum and palladium on worries that increasing labor tensions in major producer South Africa could hurt supply.

Chart: Precious Metals

South Africa increased security in the platinum belt after four deaths over the weekend, to protect miners who have decided to ditch a 16-week strike that has halted 40 percent of normal global output. Hundreds of miners barricaded roads near Lonmin's South African platinum mine on Tuesday, in an attempt to block fellow strikers from breaking rank and going back to work.

for June delivery settled $11.10 higher at $1,305.90 an ounce. Spot gold, meanwhile, rose 0.9 percent to $1,304 an ounce.

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Platinum rose around 2 percent to its highest in a month at $1,477. Palladium gained 1 percent to $819.60 an ounce.

The violence in South Africa indicates "the potential for this strike to linger on as the inflexibility of the unions remains deeply entrenched," Nomura analysts said in a note. South Africa is the top producer of platinum and second biggest producer of palladium after Russia.

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In wider markets, the dollar was down 0.1 percent against a basket of currencies, while European shares dipped after the Bundesbank is ready to support further easing steps from the European Central Bank next month.

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