Gold holdings in exchange-traded products plunged 174 metric tons last month, the biggest drop ever, as prices entered a bear market and wiped $17.9 billion from the value of the funds.
Commodity investment net outflows were $7 billion in the first quarter, one of the weakest on record, because of the liquidation in gold, Barclays Plc said.
Gold futures rose on speculation that the Federal Reserve will maintain bond purchases to bolster the U.S. economy, while demand for coins and jewelry climbed.
Gold climbed for the first time in three days on speculation the biggest slump in three decades may lure investors to the precious metal. Silver rallied from the lowest since October 2010.
Gold futures declined for the fourth time in five sessions as the dollar’s rebound reduced the appeal of the metal as an alternative investment.
Gold traded little changed, set for the worst quarterly run since 2001, as the reopening of banks in Cyprus eased immediate concern Europe’s debt crisis will deepen, reducing the precious metal’s appeal as a store of wealth.
Gold climbed to the highest price since December on signals that sovereign-debt risk may erode the value of currencies, boosting demand for the precious metal as an alternative asset.
Commodity assets under management rose to $430 billion last month, as prices climbed and withdrawals from funds slowed, Barclays Plc said.
Gold fell to the lowest in more than a month on speculation that physical demand will slow during this week’s Lunar New Year holiday in Asia.
Gold prices fell, capping the biggest weekly loss in five months, as some investors sold to cover losses in other markets by selling bullion.
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