LONDON Gold edged higher on Monday, extending its recent rally on worries about global economic growth and hopes for easier monetary policy after weak factory data in Asia and Europe.
China's official measure of manufacturing in January fell to the lowest since mid-2012 while factory growth across the euro zone slowed as incoming orders showed no meaningful increase.
"That China data was disappointing, very weak in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing, which coupled with the ongoing turmoil on global markets and uncertainties about growth going forwards have helped gold to get above the $1,115/20 resistance level," said Robin Bhar, head of metals research at Societe Generale in London.
Spot gold added 0.5 percent to $1,123.70 an ounce by 1300 GMT. Bullion gained 5.4 percent last month, its largest rise since January 2015.
Spot gold touched a 12-week high of $1,127.80 on Wednesday, after the Fed said it was keeping a close eye on the global economy and financial markets and their impact on the U.S. economy.
Weaker fourth-quarter U.S. economic growth underpinned hopes that the Federal Reserve would slow the pace of future U.S. rate increases, aiding gold by cutting the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and keeping a lid on the dollar.
U.S. gold for April delivery rose 0.6 percent to $1,123.10 an ounce.
"Gold has staged a January rally for three consecutive years," JP Morgan analyst Allan Cooke said in a note. "That has seen the metal breach its 200-day moving average trend line each time."
Gold's 200-day moving average, a key level used in technical analysis, is currently at $1,130 an ounce.
Holdings of the largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF) -- New York's SPDR Gold Trust -- increased by about 4 percent in January, the most in a year.
"There are a lot of bullish factors out there, but critical levels are approaching and that will be an acid test for the gold market," Bhar added.
Gold may run out of steam at key resistance of $1,130/35, where medium and long-term downtrend lines converge, he said.
Hedge funds and money managers boosted their bullish bet in COMEX gold to a 12-week high in the week to Jan. 26, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.
"The latest CFTC data (is) showing longs building and shorts closing positions. However, the net long fund position in gold is still 70 percent below the 12-month high," Daniel Hynes, senior commodity strategist at ANZ, said in a note.
Spot silver rose 0.3 percent to $14.30 an ounce, platinum gained 0.5 percent to $875.35 and palladium was off 0.1 percent at $497.97.
(Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Manila; Editing by Jan Harvey and David Goodman)
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Updated Date: Feb 02, 2016 00:30 AM