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Gold, Silver Prices Slip

The dollar is mixed.

Precious metals prices were slipping again Wednesday, hurt by further strength in the greenback, as investors scrambled to cash in their holdings in the wake of a beleaguered credit market.

Benchmark gold contracts were lower by $5 at $674.70 an ounce, while silver was off 32 cents at $12.43 an ounce in recent New York market action.

Activity in the bullion exchange-traded funds was mixed. The

streetTracks Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get SPDR Gold Trust Report

was up 0.4%, but the

iShares Silver Trust

(SLV) - Get iShares Silver Trust Report

was down 1.9%.

The greenback was strengthening against the major currencies in Europe. Euros were trading at $1.347, down from $1.354 late Tuesday. The British pound was selling for $1.989, down from $1.998 a day earlier.

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The yen remained the odd one out and was recently rallying against the dollar to 116.9 from 117.8.

Prices of dollar-denominated assets such as gold and silver tend to decrease as the value of the U.S. currency appreciates.

Elsewhere, the World Gold Council reported a 5% year-over-year drop in the tonnage of investment demand during the second quarter. Investors purchased 130 tons of the metal in the three months through June, compared with 137 tons a year earlier.

While jewelry demand tends to be inversely related to the price of gold, investment demand tends to be positively correlated with it. For that reason, many analysts say the key to a further price rise in the metal is robust demand for bars or coins.

Miner

Iamgold

(IAG) - Get IAMGOLD Corporation Report

reported disappointing adjusted second-quarter earnings of 4 cents a share, lower than the consensus, which had been expecting income of 6 cents. The firm earned 17 cents in the same period a year ago.

The news sent the shares down more than 4%.

As for base metals, copper prices were 6 cents lower at $3.30 a pound. Meanwhile, cocoa was down almost 1% at $1,854 a ton.