Gold topped $1,400 an ounce in New York and silver surged to the highest in 30 years as unrest in the Middle East boosted demand for precious metals as a haven.
The Libyan government attacked protesters, and rebels claimed control of the second-biggest city, Benghazi. Tens of thousands of Bahraini protesters marched in the capital demanding democracy. Gold has rallied 26 percent in the past year, while silver doubled.
“Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and North Africa region continue to fester, keeping risk aversion elevated and enhancing the appeal of safe-haven assets,” Marc Ground, an analyst at Standard Bank Plc in Johannesburg, said in a report.
Gold futures for April delivery rose $12.50, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $1,401.10 at 1:51 p.m. on the Comex. The metal reached a record of $1,432.50 on Dec. 7. The Comex was closed yesterday for a holiday.
Bullion for immediate delivery fell $5.86, or 0.1 percent, to $1,400.58 in London, after touching $1,410.75.
Silver futures for May delivery gained 57.1 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $32.856 an ounce on the Comex, after reaching $34.315, the highest since March 1980.
“Silver is still relatively attractive compared to gold,” said James Dailey, who manages about $200 million at TEAM Financial Asset Management LLC in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “The more volatile the metal, the better it’s going to perform.”
Palladium futures for June delivery dropped $52.05, or 6.1 percent, to $807.40 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest decline since Nov. 10. Platinum futures for April delivery fell $57, or 3.1 percent, to $1,786.30 an ounce on the Nymex.
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