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Gold Futures Drop as China’s Inflation Jumps to Seven-Month High

Gold fell for the second time in three days as inflation in China topped economist estimates, increasing concern that officials may curb stimulus.

China’s inflation accelerated to a seven-month high in December, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. Bullion climbed 7 percent last year, a 12th straight gain, as central banks in Europe, the U.S. and China increased stimulus measures to boost economies. The Asian country is the world’s biggest bullion buyer after India.

“The market is reacting to China’s inflation numbers,” Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at R.J. O’Brien & Associates, said in a telephone interview from Chicago. “Less liquidity in the system means a slowdown in purchases.”

Gold futures for February delivery dropped 1 percent to settle at $1,660.60 an ounce at 1:43 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Today’s decline is the biggest for a most-active contract since Jan. 4. Prices are still up 0.7 percent this week, ending a six-week slump.

Silver futures for March delivery declined 1.6 percent to $30.408 an ounce in New York.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery fell 0.2 percent to $1,631.20 an ounce.

Palladium futures for March delivery slipped 0.1 percent to $701.45 an ounce.

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