Gold bulls split with Buffett as traders say sell

Mint Sales

Last month’s declines attracted retail buyers. Sales of gold coins by the U.S. Mint in April rose to the highest since December 2009, while the U.K. Mint said it is increasing output after demand more than tripled. Australia’s Perth mint has stayed open through the weekend to meet orders that reached a five-year high. Physical flows into India, the biggest consumer, climbed to at least five times the average of the past 12 months, UBS AG said May 3.

Central banks are still adding to gold reserves that are now at an eight-year high, according to International Monetary Fund data. Banks bought 534.6 metric tons last year, the most since 1964, according to the London-based World Gold Council. They are on pace to exceed that this year, Jason Toussaint, the managing director of investments at the council, said April 30.

Investors raised their bets on a rally for crude oil by 6.3% to 193,962 contracts, the first gain in three weeks, the CFTC data show. The funds increased platinum holdings by 17% to 22,355, the biggest gain since January. Palladium and silver wagers also increased.

Farm Bets

A measure of speculative positions across 11 agricultural products surged 86% to 197,692 contracts. The funds narrowed their bets on a decline in wheat to a net-short position of 5,779 contracts, from 20,870 a week earlier. Bullish corn holdings more than tripled to 45,497.

Wheat output in Kansas, the biggest U.S. grower of winter varieties, will fall 18% in 2013 to 313.1 million bushels after drought last year was followed by an April freeze, surveys from a three-day annual crop tour showed.

“Weather conditions could push wheat prices higher, and it could outperform other agriculture commodities,” said Nic Johnson, who helps manage $30 billion of commodity assets at Pacific Investment Management Co. in Newport Beach, California. “It’s not a one-way direction for gold. While many have changed their minds and gone bearish, we stick to the fact that gold prices will likely go higher.”

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