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Gold price breaks 28 yr record to hit new peak

Unrest in Pakistan, a faltering dollar and surging oil futures sent the price of gold soaring to a record high on Wednesday, beating its previous highest level set 28 years ago.

The precious metal rose to 859.20 US dollars an ounce, smashing its peak of 850 US dollars reached on January 21, 1980.

It later slipped back to 857.75 US dollars on profit-taking.

Price movements were slightly exaggerated by the lightness of holiday trade, which meant large transactions could influence the market more than usual, analysts said.

"Although conditions remain on the thin side ... (gold's) move suggests that funds may have made additional moves into bullion with Pakistan remaining on edge and investors nervous about financial markets," said Kitco Bullion Dealers' analyst Jon Nadler.

"A sharp rise in crude oil ... and a softer US dollar" contributed to gold's rally, he added.

Political unrest in Pakistan has led to interest in gold because the precious metal is regarded as a haven in troubled times.

Benchmark oil prices hit 100 US dollars in New York on Wednesday for the first time in history.

The yellow metal spiked to its record in 1980 as investors rushed to buy gold because of high inflation sparked by soaring oil prices amid the Iranian revolution.

Gold rallied "as the dollar remained in negative territory while safe-haven related buying continued to be seen in reaction to violence in Pakistan," said James Moore of thebulliondesk.com.

Gold prices were also winning support from a weak dollar, which fell against the euro on Wednesday in the wake of disappointing US manufacturing data, dealers said.

A falling US unit encourages demand for dollar-priced commodities such as gold because it makes them cheaper for buyers using stronger currencies. Higher oil prices also encourage the buying of gold.

Gold is seen as a defence against inflation, which is being driven in many countries by higher oil prices.

The price of crude hit 100 US dollars per barrel in New York for the first time in history, supported by unrest in oil producer Nigeria and the prospect of falling energy inventories in the United States, dealers said.

The price of gold is also rising sharply because of increased jewellery purchases in emerging economic powerhouses China and India, according to the World Gold Council.

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