Gold and silver climbed as precious metals extended their advance, while Japanese stocks retreated as the yen gained after disappointing economic data. The Malaysian and Korean currencies strengthened and oil advanced.
Gold gained 0.3 percent by 9:57 a.m. in Tokyo, furthering last week’s steepest jump since August as silver rose a 12th day. Japan’s Topix Index slipped 0.6 percent after six weeks of declines, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2 percent. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) futures slipped 0.2 percent following the U.S. gauge’s best week since December. Malaysia’s ringgit, the Korean won and the yen rose at least 0.3 percent. Oil in New York added 0.2 percent to hold above $100 a barrel.
Hedge funds have raised bullish gold bets to a three-month high on disappointing U.S. economic data and after John Paulson maintained bullion holdings. Economic growth in Japan — where the Nikkei 225 Stock Average has lost the most among developed markets this year — quickened less than estimated last quarter, data today showed. China said Feb. 15 that it saw record new credit in January, boosting prospects for Asia’s largest economy. U.S. and Canadian markets are closed for holidays.