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Gold ends slightly higher, but physical demand wanes

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Platinum gained for a second straight session on Tuesday as labor strikes in top producer South Africa continued for a 17th week, disrupting supply of about 40 percent of the metal's global output.

Gold held below $1,300 an ounce as a lack of major economic data and no significant developments in the Ukraine crisis kept investor interest muted.

Spot gold was steady at $1,293.40 an ounce by 0313 GMT. Platinum rose 0.3 percent to $1,468.00 after rising 0.5 percent in the previous session.

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Last week, platinum posted its strongest weekly performance in six, along with palladium.

Despite the recent price gains, platinum's performance during the long strike has been uninspired.

"Considering how long the strike is dragging on, it is quite remarkable that prices are not pushing higher still," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said.

AP

Gold settled modestly higher near $1,295 an ounce on Tuesday as the dollar index rose and an industry report showed gold demand in major consumers China and India fell in the first quarter.

The World Gold Council said on Tuesday consumer gold demand in the world's biggest buyer China fell 18 percent to 263.2 tons, with Chinese demand for gold coins and bars down 55 percent in the first quarter, offset only partially by a 10 percent rise in jewelry offtake.

"The WGC report would be consistent with our Standard Bank Gold Physical Flow Index, which indicates that Asia physical demand is trailing 2013 levels,'' Standard Bank said in a note.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
GOLD
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GOLD/USD
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SILV/USD
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SILVER
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PALL/USD
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PLAT/USD
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"To us, Asia demand appears more consistent with levels seen in 2012, rather than 2013. We believe gold must move lower before physical demand will pick up substantially again. Our tactical view remains unchanged: we expect rallies to fade.''

U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled 80 cents higher at $1,294.60 an ounce, having earlier touched a low of $1,286.00 an ounce.

Spot gold, meanwhile, edged up 0.2 percent to $1,294 an ounce.

Indian consumer demand was down by just over a quarter to 190.3 tons, although a drop in sales from bullion-backed investment funds kept overall demand steady.

—By Reuters

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