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Gold settles higher; platinum steadies after rout

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Platinum edged up on Thursday after a four-day rout on fears about demand from the auto sector following the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

Platinum is used in diesel catalysts to clean up exhaust emissions.

Spot platinum was up at $951 an ounce, after losing about 5 percent in the past four sessions. The metal remained within sight of a 6-1/2 year low of $924.50 hit on Wednesday.

"In the short term, there may be more downside in platinum as more details about the VW situation get uncovered...$900 could be tested, maybe a little bit lower," ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said.

Palladium, predominantly used in gasoline catalysts, retreated from an earlier mid-July high, and was higher on the day at $652.25 an ounce.

"The market is obviously pre-empting a possible disruption to the whole diesel catalytic converter sector and we now need to see what the future holds for diesel demand in the U.S. and the reverberations in Europe," Saxo Bank senior manager Ole Hansen said.


Platinum had some support on Thursday from Japanese traders returning from a three-day holiday.

"The Japanese came in aggressively on the bid this morning, taking the white metal more than $20 higher," said MKS Group trader Jason Cerisola.

Spot palladium logged a near 7 percent jump in the previous session.

"Talks about the potential switch from diesel to gasoline propped up palladium yesterday," Hansen said.

Spot gold also climbed for a second straight session, gaining 2 percent to $1,152.13, as the dollar eased after data showed U.S. durable goods fell 2 percent in August. U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled $22.30 higher at $1,153.80.

Read MorePlatinum at 6½-year low on VW scandal, palladium soars

Worries that an eventual tightening in U.S. monetary policy and slower growth in China could knock the global economy have scared investors, prompting some safe-haven bids for gold.

Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose for a second straight session, providing some support for prices. The fund added 0.60 tonnes on Wednesday, bringing total holdings to 676.40 tonnes.

Investors will be closely monitoring a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in the session for clues on when the U.S. central bank will begin to raise rates.

Silver rose 2.2 percent to $15.12 an ounce.