Mid-Week Market Update: Gold rises after weak U.S. data; supply worry lifts platinum | Reuters

Investors bought gold after data showed U.S. private employers added fewer workers than expected in February and services sector growth hit a four-year low. Severe U.S. weather also crimped shopping and consumer spending in recent weeks, leading to slower economic growth or outright contraction in some areas of the country, the Federal Reserve’s anecdotal Beige Book report said. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,337.54 an ounce by Wednesday’s closing.

Platinum reached its highest since Sept. 9 at $1,486.00 an ounce after the three major producers, Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin, said the government-mediated talks with AMCU had brokendown. The AMCU strike, which began on Jan. 23, has hit 40 percent of global production of the precious metal. South Africa produces around 75 percent of the world’s platinum.

OTHER PRECIOUS METAL UPDATES: Palladium rose 1.2 percent to $768.50 an ounce after earlier hit an 11-month high of $779.50. Silver inched down 1 cent to $21.13 an ounce.