Gold declined as some investors sold the metal to raise cash as other assets including commodities and equities dropped. Silver, platinum and palladium all slid.
European and Asian equities retreated after Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the risk of further radiation leaks has increased following a third explosion at a nuclear power plant. Commodities dropped on concern Japan’s biggest earthquake and the nuclear crisis will curb demand for raw materials. Gold has fallen 2.4 percent from a record $1,444.95 an ounce set March 7.
Immediate-delivery bullion slipped as much as $19.55, or 1.4 percent, to $1,406.85 an ounce and traded at $1,409.60 at 9:50 a.m. in London. Gold for April delivery was 1.1 percent lower at $1,409.30 an ounce on the Comex in New York.
Crude oil slumped as much 2.8 percent in New York and all six main industrial metals on the London Metal Exchange declined today.
Concern about rising inflation and currency debasement drove gold prices up 30 percent last year for a 10th annual gain. The metal climbed to an all-time this month as the civil war in Libya escalated. Forces loyal to leader Muammar Qaddafi carried out air strikes against rebels in the town of Ajdabiya as his troops pushed the rebels back from town after town.
Silver for immediate delivery fell 3.1 percent to $34.8050 an ounce. It climbed to $36.7525 on March 7, the highest level since February 1980, the year in which the metal reached a record $50.35 in New York.
Demand for palladium and platinum has been hurt by shutdowns in Japan’s auto plants, Hussein Allidina, head of commodity research at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a report. The metals are used to make pollution-control devices in automobiles.
Palladium was down 3.1 percent at $723 an ounce, the lowest level since Dec. 8. Platinum slipped as much as 2.1 percent to $1,718.15 an ounce, the lowest price since Jan. 7, and was last at $1,719.88. (www.businessweek.com)