Gold is holding on to its gains, hitting a four-week high, despite some hawkish tones from the minutes of the December Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Helping the yellow metal is buying interest which is beginning to bubble again in China, said Peter Hug global trading director for Kitco Metals. 'Gold demand has increased in China ahead of the Chinese New Year and gold has shown some sympathy strength with the move in the industrial metals,' Hug said on Wednesday. As for silver, Hug said that from an industrial perspective, he is forecasting silver to outperform gold in 2017. He added that palladium has increased 8% since the end of 2016, with platinum and silver posting gains of 5%. As of 12:15 p.m. EST, Comex February was $4.40 higher to $1,166.40 an ounce. March silver was up 9.1 cents to $16.50.