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Gold Declines From Three-Week High Before Fed Statement

March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Gold futures dropped from a three-week high after the Federal Reserve cut its forecast for U.S. unemployment.

“Labor market conditions have shown signs of improvement in recent months but the unemployment rate remains elevated,” the Federal Open Market Committee said today at the conclusion of a two-day meeting in Washington. Fed officials lowered their outlook for the unemployment rate in 2013 and 2014, with the majority continuing to see 2015 as an appropriate time to lift the federal funds rate. Gold slumped 3.8 percent this year through yesterday.

“All in all, the FOMC is being a bit less dovish here, mainly because it upgraded its unemployment forecast,” Bart Melek, the Toronto-based head of TD’s commodity strategy at TD Securities, said in a telephone interview.

Gold futures for February delivery fell 0.3 percent to $1,606.40 an ounce at 2:59 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the metal settled down 0.2 percent at $1,607.50. Yesterday, the price reached $1,615, the highest for a most-active contract since Feb. 26.

The Fed left unchanged its statement that it plans to hold its target interest rate near zero as long as unemployment remains above 6.5 percent.

Silver futures for May delivery slid 0.1 percent to close at $28.817 an ounce in New York.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery rose 1.7 percent to $1,582.50 an ounce, the biggest gain for the most-active contract in two months. Volume was more than double the 100-day average.

Palladium futures for June delivery jumped 3.1 percent to $758.20 an ounce, the largest advance since Nov. 13. Yesterday, the price tumbled 3.9 percent, the most since Oct. 23.

To contact the reporter for this story: 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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