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Gold Futures Rise as European-Debt Concerns Boost Haven Demand

Gold futures rose for the third straight day, touching the highest level in more than two weeks, as Europe’s debt woes boosted demand for a haven.

Investors are shunning Europe’s highest-rated bonds after bailouts for Greece and Ireland failed to ease concern that the debt crisis will spread. The cost of insuring Portuguese, Spanish and Italian bonds rose to records, and gold priced in euros reached an all-time high.

“Gold is swiftly becoming the next reservable currency,” said Dennis Gartman, an economist and editor of the Suffolk, Virginia Gartman Letter.

Gold futures for February delivery rose $2.20, or 0.2 percent, to settle at $1,388.30 an ounce at 1:30 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price reached $1,398.30, the highest since Nov. 12. The metal reached a record $1,424.30 on Nov. 9.

Gold may average $1,500 next year and $1,600 in 2012, Anne-Laure Tremblay, a London-based analyst at BNP Paribas SA, said in a report. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expects prices to peak at $1,750 in 2012.

Silver rose as much as 2.4 percent after surging 15 percent in November, the most since May 2009. Deliveries for the December futures contract have been “extremely light,” said Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services in Chicago.

Silver Deliveries

The number of contracts pledged for delivery totaled 34 yesterday, down from 56 contracts on Nov. 29, according to Comex data. Last December, 2,748 contracts were delivered. Open interest in the December contract is 1,945 contracts.

“There’s a lot of talk that there might not be any silver to be delivered,” said Lannie Cohen, the president of Capitol Commodity Services Inc. in Indianapolis. “If they don’t have the metal to deliver, the price will have to go up.”

Silver futures for March delivery gained 20.1 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $28.413 an ounce. The price has jumped 69 percent this year, reaching a 30-year high of $29.34 on Nov. 9.

Palladium futures for March delivery rose $29.30, or 4.2 percent, to $732.30 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Platinum futures for January delivery advanced $17.60, or 1.1 percent, to $1,684 an ounce.

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