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Biggest Monthly Gold Gain in Nine Years
By Halia Pavliva

Gold prices rose in New York, capping the biggest monthly increase in nine years, on demand for a haven following terrorist attacks in India. Platinum had the biggest weekly gain since May.

At least 124 people were killed and 370 were injured in almost 48 hours of violence as terrorists moved through Mumbai, India’s financial hub. Elements in Pakistan are responsible for the attacks, the Press Trust of Indian cited External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee as saying.

“The devastating attacks in India have added a new dimension to global jitters,” Jon Nadler, a senior analyst at Kitco Inc. in Montreal, said in a report.

Gold futures for February delivery rose $7.70, or 0.9 percent, to $819 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. This month, the price rose 14 percent, the most since September 1999. In the week, the metal climbed 3.4 percent. Futures still are down 2.3 percent in 2008.

Platinum futures for January delivery climbed $12.60, or 1.4 percent, to $882.30 an ounce on the Nymex. This week, the metal rose 6.9 percent. The November gain of 6.1 percent snapped a four-month slide. The price still is down 42 percent this year.

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari said “non-state actors” were forcing their agenda on India and Pakistan and that the two governments must not allow them to succeed.

Gold’s gains were limited as the dollar climbed against the euro, limiting demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment. The euro dropped as much as 2 percent against the greenback.

‘Dollar May Strengthen’

“It doesn’t make much sense for some investors to buy gold at a time when the dollar may strengthen further,” said Sergey Grudev, an analyst at Standard Bank Russia in Moscow.

The dollar may rise to $1.25 per euro in the next two months and $1.20 per euro by the end of the first quarter, he said.

Gold reached a record $1,033.90 on March 17 as the euro headed for a record against the dollar.

Silver futures for March delivery fell 3.9 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $10.23 an ounce. The metal rose 5.1 percent in November, ending a three-month slide. The price was up 7.6 percent in the week, the most since late September. Futures are down 31 percent this year.

Palladium futures for March delivery gained $2.60, or 1.4 percent, to $194.25 an ounce. The price still gained 7.8 percent this week. In November, the metal still dropped 2.7 percent, extending the slide to five months. Futures have tumbled 49 percent this year.

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