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Gold May Drop in London on U.S. Outlook, Physical Demand

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Gold retreated for the third straight day on concern that demand for raw materials may fall as U.S. jobless claims topped forecasts and Standard & Poor’s said Greece may have to restructure its debt again.

U.S. initial jobless claims were 359,000 last week, the Labor Department said today, exceeding the median forecast of 350,000 in a Bloomberg survey. Greece will probably have to restructure its debt again and this may involve bailout partners such as European governments, Moritz Kraemer, head of sovereign ratings at S&P, said yesterday.

“The macro worries have come back to the forefront,” Adam Klopfenstein, a market strategist at Archer Financial Services Inc., based in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “People are taking a wait-and-watch attitude at the moment.”

Gold futures for June delivery dropped 0.3 percent to settle at $1,654.90 an ounce at 1:55 p.m. on the Comex in New York, reducing this year’s gain to 5.6 percent.

Jewelers in India, the world’s biggest buyer, extended a nationwide shutdown to 13 days, demanding a withdrawal of a 1 percent tax on non-branded products. Gold imports may plunge as much as 59 percent this quarter because of the taxes, the Bombay Bullion Association said on March 26.

“Gold continues to struggle due to poor short-term technicals and a slight decrease in physical demand in recent days, particularly from India,” Mark O’Byrne, the executive director of Dublin-based brokerage GoldCore Ltd. said in an e-mail.

Silver futures for May delivery rose 0.5 percent to $31.992 an ounce on the Comex, the first gain in three sessions. The metal has rallied 15 percent this year.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for June delivery fell 0.4 percent to close at $644.55 an ounce. Earlier, the price touched $641.20, the lowest since Jan. 17. Platinum futures for July delivery dropped 0.7 percent to $1,628.30 an ounce.

To contact the reporters on this story: Maria Kolesnikova in London at mkolesnikova@bloomberg.net; Debarati Roy in New York at droy5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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