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Gold May Decline on Concerns About Physical Purchases

Gold futures slid, capping a third straight monthly decline, on concern that demand in India, the world’s biggest buyer, is slowing and after a report showed Spain’s economy entered its second recession since 2009.

The Akshaya Tritiya festival, considered an auspicious day to buy precious metals, was celebrated in India last week, and there was “disappointing demand,” UBS AG said today in a report. The dollar gained against the euro after a government report showed that Spain’s economy shrank last quarter, adding to concerns that Europe’s debt crisis is worsening.

“Physical demand is India is a problem,” Lance Roberts, the chief executive officer of Streettalk Advisors LLC in Houston, said in a telephone interview. “Investors are leaning towards cash today because of what is happening in Europe.”

Gold futures for June delivery fell 60 cents to settle $1,664.20 an ounce at 1:44 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices dropped 0.5 percent in April. Three months of losses is the longest string of declines since March 2001.

“In terms of physical demand, gold’s buying interest in India has become anemic,” Shiyang Wang, an analyst at Barclays Capital in New York, said in a report today. Elsewhere in Asia, interest isn’t “likely to pick up next week as China and Japan will take a few days off as a result of upcoming holidays,” Wang said.

Holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded products, down 0.3 percent in April, are heading for the second straight monthly loss for the first time since February 2011.

Silver futures for July delivery tumbled 1.3 percent to $31.016 an ounce on the Comex. The metal retreated 4.5 percent in April.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for June delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $682.35 an ounce, extending the month’s gain to 4.3 percent. Platinum futures for July delivery dropped 0.2 percent to $1,571.90 an ounce on the Nymex. Platinum fell 4.4 percent this month, the second straight loss.

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