Gold bars and granules. File photo: Reuters

Singapore - Gold swung between gains and losses in New York as investors weighed slowing physical demand against concern that Europe’s debt crisis may worsen. Silver was little changed after falling into a bear market yesterday.

Cypriot government officials meet with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund today to seek seek easier bailout terms, before a meeting of euro-area finance officials later this week.

The US Mint sold 62,000 ounces of American Eagle gold coins last month, compared with 80,500 for all of February and 150,000 in January, its website shows.

Holdings in gold-backed exchange-traded products are down about 6.9 percent this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“There’s not much physical interest anywhere,” Bernard Sin, head of currency and metal trading at bullion refiner MKS (Switzerland) SA in Geneva, said today by phone.

“There’s still a lot of uncertainty and that will continue to linger.”

Gold futures for June delivery fell 0.2 percent to $1,597 an ounce by 8:02 a.m. on the Comex in New York.

Prices gained as much as 0.2 percent and lost as much as 0.3 percent.

Futures trading volume was 47 percent below the average in the past 100 days for this time of day.

Gold for immediate delivery slipped 0.2 percent to $1,596.92 in London.

While gold’s 1.1 percent advance in March was the first monthly gain since September, it posted the first back-to-back quarterly losses since the start of 2001.

Prices are down 4.7 percent this year, after 12 straight annual increases, on mounting optimism the US economy is strengthening.

Cyprus’s government is seeking more time to reach targets required in return for 10 billion euros ($12.8 billion) in international funds after agreeing to impose losses on uninsured depositors at the country’s two biggest banks, Bank of Cyprus Pcl and Cyprus Popular Bank Pcl.

Silver for May delivery was little changed at $27.975 an ounce in New York, after reaching $27.81 yesterday, the lowest since Aug. 16.

It closed at $27.944 yesterday, a 20 percent drop from October 4 and the common definition of a bear market.

Palladium for June delivery was 1.4 percent lower at $773 an ounce.

Platinum for July delivery slipped 0.5 percent to $1,591.10 an ounce. - Bloomberg News