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Gold Climbs for Fifth Session Amid Middle East, Libya Tensions

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March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Gold rose in New York for the fifth straight session as tensions in the Middle East and Libya boosted demand for an investment haven.

The U.S. said attacks on Libya will ease in the following days. Yemen’s president warned defecting generals they risk dragging the country into a “bloody civil war.” Gold touched a record $1,445.70 an ounce on March 7 as protests ousted leaders in Egypt and Tunisia and spread throughout the region.

“The Middle East is going to take time to sort out, so gold is well-supported by the ongoing tension,” said Matt Zeman, a market strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago.

Gold futures for April delivery rose $1.20 to settle at $1,427.60 at 1:37 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price has gained 2.5 percent in five sessions.

Silver futures for May delivery climbed 26.8 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $36.269 an ounce on the Comex. That’s the highest closing price for a most-active contract since 1980.

Palladium futures for June delivery dropped $4.45, or 0.6 percent, to $737.85 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Platinum futures for April delivery fell $5.50, or 0.3 percent, to $1,739.40 an ounce on the Nymex.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pham-Duy Nguyen in Seattle at pnguyen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net