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Gold, silver and platinum drop as US dollar gains against euro on IMF Greek aid speculation

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Gold declined today as euro stayed low on renewed Greek debt jitters.

The latest development in the Greek fiscal crisis saga came yesterday when Greece said that it was unlikely that it would receive aid from other euro zone countries and that it could turn to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) for help. The worries over Greece’s debt situation, which has kept Europe’s single currency under pressure for weeks, were subdued two weeks ago when the country successfully conducted a bond issue to raise €5 billion to meet its near term commitments and introduced a fresh economic austerity package to save some 4.8 billion. According to estimates, Greece is going to need to secure €50 billion this year or face a default.

Today, the German government said it did not rule out IMF aid for Greece.

The US dollar climbed on the euro’s weakness today to push down gold and other precious metals. Gold is seen as a riskier alternative to the safe haven US dollar and usually moves inversely to the American currency.

The yellow metal nearly reached US$1,130/oz yesterday after the US dollar declined on US economic data. The Federal Reserve decided to leave its interest rates unchanged, while US jobless claims data showed a decline of 5,000 to 457,000.

Meanwhile, US inflation stayed unchanged in February following a 0.2% increase in the previous month to weigh on gold, which is also seen as an inflation hedge.

Gold was trading at US$1,121/oz today, while silver and platinum declined to US$17.28/oz and US$1,621/oz respectively.

Major miners were mixed today. In the FTSE 100, silver and gold miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) gained 1.3%, while platinum producer Lonmin (LSE: LMI) added less than 1%. Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) posted a small loss.

Specialty chemicals firm Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT) rose marginally.

Gold miner Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG) led the miners with a 1.7% advance, while Aquarius Platinum (LSE: AQP) gained 1% and silver producer Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) went against the tide, shedding 1.4%.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia operating gold explorer KEFI Minerals (AIM: KEF) declined 31% on no news. Turkey focused gold miner Ariana Resources (AIM: AAU) and Africa focused gold miner Pan African Resources (AIM: PAF) followed, shedding 7.5% and 4.5% respectively.

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