Net long gold COMEX positions jump 22% to five-month high: CFTC

London (Platts)--19 Apr 2017 830 am EDT/1230 GMT

Net long gold positions on US commodities exchange COMEX climbed 22% to a five-month high of 133,011 contracts in the week ended April 11, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed Tuesday.

Bullish positions on the US commodity exchange have increased almost three-fold in the past four weeks, helping to support gold prices, which hit five-month highs Monday above $1,290/oz.

Spot gold was down slightly on the day at $1,285/oz in morning European trade Tuesday, having jumped above $1,290/oz Monday on weak US economic figures released over the long Easter weekend, as well as geopolitical tensions over North Korean nuclear tests.

US inflation fell unexpectedly to 2% in March, lowering interest rate expectations to the benefit of gold, while US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed Monday the deadline for tax reforms to pass through Congress before August had slipped due to delays in healthcare reform.

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"The result of the referendum in Turkey and the verbal sabre-rattling between the US and North Korea doubtless gave prices a further boost," Commerzbank said in a note Tuesday, referring to rising geopolitical tensions that should benefit gold as a safe haven asset.

"The rise in gold and silver prices last week is likely to have been driven to a major extent by speculation," Commerzbank added, commenting on the CFTC statistics.

At the same time, investor demand for gold exchange-traded funds remains firm. The world's largest gold-backed ETF, SPDR Gold Shares, showed inflows of 11 mt in the week to Monday.

The fund, which accounts for up to 50% of gold-backed ETF assets under management, has increased around 17 mt in April to date, replacing 9 mt of outflows recorded in March.

Elsewhere, net long silver positions climbed for the third straight week, up 6% to a record high of 98,564 contracts. Silver was trading around $18.42/oz Tuesday morning, down around 10 cents/oz on the day, having also topped five-month highs Monday.

Platinum positions fell for the sixth week, down 27% to a six-month low of 4,739 net long contracts, while palladium contracts increased 3% to 23,829, a 2.5-year high.

Platinum was trading around $985/oz Tuesday, down around $5 from Monday's close.

Palladium was priced around $788/oz Tuesday, largely unchanged on the day.

--George King Cassell,
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell,

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