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Gold Declines in Worst Run Since 2001 as Economic Concerns Ease

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- Gold futures fell, capping the longest run of quarterly declines since 2001, as banks in Cyprus reopened, easing concern that Europe’s debt crisis will worsen and curbing demand for haven assets.

Cyprus’s banks opened for the first time in almost two weeks. The U.S. economy grew at a faster pace than previously estimated in the fourth quarter, Commerce Department figures showed today. Holdings in exchange-traded funds backed by bullion contracted 6.9 percent this quarter amid speculation that the Federal Reserve will rein in stimulus. Gold prices have fallen 4.8 percent this year.

“The support that gold got from Cyprus is fading, and there are no new reasons to buy,” Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “This has been a very disappointing quarter for gold.”

Gold futures for June delivery slipped 0.7 percent to settle at $1,595.70 an ounce at 1:37 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices capped a second straight quarterly drop.

Trading was 30 percent lower than the 100-day average for this time of day, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Silver futures for May delivery fell 1 percent to $28.323 an ounce on the Comex, extending this week’s drop to 1.3 percent. Prices lost 6.3 percent this quarter.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for July delivery retreated 0.6 percent to $1,574.60 an ounce. The metal advanced 2.1 percent this year.

Palladium futures for June delivery slipped less than 0.1 percent to $768.25 an ounce. Prices have surged 9.2 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on 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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