Gold Drops for Fourth Session Amid Concern U.S. May End Stimulus

Gold declined for a fourth session on concern that the Federal Reserve will signal plans to end its third round of stimulus measures, easing demand for the precious metal as an inflation hedge.

The Fed tomorrow will release the minutes of its Jan. 29-30 meeting, which may indicate policy makers are targeting a halt to debt purchases known as quantitative easing. On Jan. 4, gold tumbled to the lowest since August after the minutes of the Dec. 11-12 meeting showed that members were divided between a mid- or end-of-year end to easing. Gold futures have dropped 4.3 percent this year as speculation grows that economies are improving.

“The U.S. economy has certainly shown signs of strength, and people are now worried that the government may announce the end of the easing,” Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Gold futures for April delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle at $1,604.20 an ounce at 1:35 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices touched $1,596.70 on Feb. 15, the lowest since Aug. 15. U.S. markets were shut yesterday for the Presidents Day holiday.

Silver futures for March delivery tumbled 1.4 percent to $29.422 an ounce in New York, after touching $29.175, the lowest since Aug. 21. Futures trading volume was more than double the average in the past 100 days for this time of day.

Platinum Rises

Platinum futures for April delivery rose 1.2 percent to $1,697.50 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest gain since Feb. 12.

Clashes between labor groups at Anglo American Platinum Ltd.’s Siphumelele mine in South Africa disrupted operations and caused one serious injury, according to police and the company, the world’s largest producer of the metal. Nine workers were shot with rubber bullets and three security guards were hurt in the fighting at the mine in Rustenburg yesterday.

One ounce of platinum bought as much as 1.059 ounces of gold in London today, the most since August 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Palladium futures for March delivery jumped 1.5 percent to $764.15 an ounce on the Nymex, the biggest advance since Feb. 12.

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