Gold May Decline for Third Day as Indian Jewelers Extend Strike

Gold may drop for a third day after jewelers in India, the world’s biggest buyer, extended a strike, curbing demand for the metal. Platinum was poised for the first three-month gain in five.

Spot gold fell as much as 0.3 percent to $1,659.52 an ounce and traded little changed at $1,661.52 by 11:26 a.m. in Singapore. The metal lost 1 percent yesterday, the biggest drop since March 14. Bullion for June delivery rose 0.2 percent to $1,663.40 an ounce on the Comex in New York.

Jewelers in India, the biggest buyer, said yesterday they will extend a strike until the government withdraws a levy on non-branded products. Gold imports may plunge as much as 59 percent this quarter on the taxes, the Bombay Bullion Association said on March 26.

“We haven’t seen an improvement in demand in India,” said Alexandra Knight, a Melbourne-based economist at National Australia Bank Ltd. “A pullback in demand in India is going to assist lower prices in the near-term.”

Bullion has dropped 7.2 percent since reaching $1,790.75 an ounce on Feb. 29, the most expensive level this year, amid signs that the U.S. economy is recovering, curbing haven demand. That’s pared this quarter’s gain to 6.3 percent. Holdings (.GLDTONS) in exchange-traded products backed by the metal declined 0.2 percent to 2,389.849 metric tons yesterday.

Platinum, the best-performing precious metal this year, declined 0.2 percent to $1,633 an ounce. The metal used in auto catalysts has rallied 17 percent this quarter on supply disruptions in South Africa and prospects for increased demand.

Spot silver was little changed at $32.0525 an ounce after gaining as much as 0.4 percent. The metal has rallied 15 percent this year, ending three quarters of declines. Palladium dropped 0.3 percent to $645.75 an ounce. It’s 1.5 percent weaker this quarter.

To contact the reporter for this story: Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne at psedgman2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jake Lloyd-Smith at jlloydsmith@bloomberg.net

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