Darren Kugler
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Darren Kugler in Commodities,

Gold Trades Near Six-Week High as Diwali Purchasing Gains

Gold held near the highest in six weeks on signs of increasing demand in India, the biggest user afterChina, spurred by the Diwali festival and wedding season.

Bullion for immediate delivery added as much as 0.3 percent to $1,251.90 an ounce and was at $1,248.64 by 11:37 a.m. in Singapore, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. Prices climbed to $1,255.34 yesterday, the highest since Sept. 10.

Gold rose 3.4 percent this month as equities fell after the International Monetary Fund cut its growth outlook and Federal Reserve policy makers said slowing foreign economies were a risk to U.S. expansion. Demand in India noticeably strengthened before Diwali after gold traded near this year’s lows in the month or so before the festival, UBS AG said.

“Physical demand has been strong,” Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. wrote in a note today. Demand leading up to Diwali is “particularly robust,” it said.

Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by the country’s more than 800 million Hindus tomorrow, is considered an auspicious time for buying gold. Researcher CPM Group estimates the holiday generates about a fifth of the country’s annual purchases. India’s imports probably surged to 95 metric tons last month from 15 tons to 20 tons a year earlier, the All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation estimates.

Gold touched $1,183.24 on Oct. 6, the lowest this year. Prices have tumbled 28 percent in the past two years as the Fed signaled an end to stimulus measures intended to revive the U.S. economy, while inflation remained in check.

Bullion may be supported after breaking above the 50-day moving average of about $1,248 yesterday,James Steel, an analyst at HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., wrote in a note. The move may increase buying from momentum investors, he said.

Gold for December delivery declined 0.2 percent to $1,248.70 an ounce on the Comex in New York, snapping a two-day advance. Silver for immediate delivery was at $17.4916 an ounce from $17.5145 yesterday. Platinum retreated 0.1 percent to $1,278.69 an ounce and palladium rose 0.2 percent to $777.75 an ounce.