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Gold Falls as Dollar Rises on Gains in U.S. Retail Sales

Gold futures fell for the first time in four sessions as the dollar’s rebound crimped demand for the precious metal as an alternate investment.

The greenback climbed as much as 0.4 percent against a basket of 10 currencies after U.S. retail sales in December rose more than forecast. The Federal Reserve will stick to its plan for a gradual reduction in U.S. bond purchases, according to a survey of economists.

“The dollar’s strength and signs of an improving U.S. economy are keeping people away from gold,” Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Most people do not see any reason to remain invested in gold.”

Gold futures for February delivery dropped 0.5 percent to settle at $1,245.40 an ounce at 1:39 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Yesterday, the price reached $1,255.30, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 12.

The metal rose as much as 6.3 percent from a six-month low on Dec. 31 on signs of higher demand for bars, coins and jewelry.

Yesterday, the U.S. Mint said sales this month of American Eagle gold coins were 63,000 ounces, compared with 56,000 ounces for all of December.

Silver futures for March delivery dropped 0.5 percent to $20.282 an ounce on the Comex.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery declined 0.7 percent to $1,433.80 an ounce. Earlier, the price reached $1,447.50, the highest since Nov. 15, amid labor disputes in South Africa, the world’s biggest producer.

Palladium futures for March delivery fell 0.1 percent to $738.90 an ounce.

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