By Joe Richter and Nicholas Larkin
Gold dropped for the first time in three sessions in New York on concern that physical purchases are declining and as a rise in the dollar reduces the appeal of the metal as an alternative asset.
The All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation said that members extended a strike for an 18th day to protest a levy on non-branded gold products. The dollar gained against a basket of currencies before the Federal Open Market Committee releases minutes of its March meeting.
“Physical demand isn’t extremely robust, as a lot of people are waiting to see if they can buy at lower prices,” Matthew Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The dollar is also firm, so I think we’ll see more downward pressure on gold today.”
Gold futures for June delivery fell 0.2 percent to $1,676.30 an ounce at 10:50 a.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal rose 1.5 percent in the past two sessions. Before today, prices were up 7.2 percent this year.
About 90 percent of jewelry stores across India were shut today, said Bachhraj Bamalwa, the federation’s chairman. Gold imports in March may have dropped to 15 metric tons to 20 tons, from 75 tons to 80 tons a year ago, the Bombay Bullion Association said yesterday. Second-quarter imports may slide to 150 tons, from 250 tons a year earlier, it said.
The Federal Reserve will release minutes of policy makers’ March 13 meeting at 2 p.m. Eastern time. The central bank bought $2.3 trillion of debt in two rounds of so-called quantitative easing from December 2008 to June 2011.
Silver futures for May delivery slid 0.3 percent to $32.995 an ounce, the first decline in four sessions. Before today, silver increased 18 percent this year, the best-performing metal on the Standard & Poor’s Spot GSCI Index of 24 commodities.
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