Gold bars and granules. File photo: Reuters

Mumbai - Gold gained for the first time in a week in London on speculation that prices near a six-month low will increase purchases.

Gold is down 3.8 percent this year and global equities are up 4.8 percent as speculation grew that economies are improving.

About $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts stemming from a 2011 agreement are scheduled to take effect in the US in March.

Morgan Stanley said in a report yesterday it expects “bargain hunting” in gold this week.

“It’s very cheap,” said David Lennox, a resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, referring to gold.

“The US has still got to deal with budgetary and debt constraints, they’re not going to go away. While that’s still there, we think there’s opportunity for gold to rally robustly.”

Gold for immediate delivery added 0.1 percent to $1,611.87 an ounce by 9:29 a.m. in London.

Prices reached $1,598.23 on February 15, the lowest since August 15.

Futures for April delivery were 0.1 percent higher at $1,611.60 on the Comex in New York.

US markets were shut yesterday for the Presidents’ Day holiday.

Futures trading volume was more than triple the average in the past 100 days for this time of day.

Silver for immediate delivery rose 0.4 percent to $30.005 an ounce. It reached a six-week low of $29.6912 on February 15.

Palladium gained 0.4 percent to $765.28 an ounce.

Platinum was up 0.2 percent at $1,697 an ounce.

Clashes between labor groups at Anglo American Platinum’s Siphumelele mine in South Africa disrupted operations and caused one serious injury, according to police and the company, the world’s largest producer of the metal.

Nine workers were shot with rubber bullets and three security guards were hurt in the fighting at the mine in Rustenburg yesterday. - Bloomberg News