CHICAGO, Dec. 21 -- Gold futures on the COMEX Division of the New York Mercantile Exchange gained on Monday, as tensions on the Korean Peninsula and European debt concerns continued to bolster the metal as a safe-haven investment.
The most active gold contract for February delivery hiked 6.9 dollars, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,386.1 dollars per ounce in the day.
Market traders noted that investors bought gold and other safe- haven investments, such as U.S. Treasury bonds, as a hedge against military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and ongoing concerns about European sovereign debt.
The worries over uncertainties around the world have dominated the market's sentiment. The European Central Bank (ECB) recently expressed "serious concerns" that Ireland's bailout package could affect the institution's liquidity operations in the eurozone. Besides, U.S. envoy to the United Nations Susan Rice noted disagreements in the UN Security Council over the Korean Peninsula crisis are so severe that it is unlikely they can be resolved.
Some analysts noted that physical demand from Christmas holiday shopping and the start of the Indian holiday season also provided support.
A trader noted that the market could see a new high in gold prices in 2011, but for this year, "as we head towards the year- end, investors may unwind positions and trading volume is coming down."
The gold price fell 0.4 percent in the last week, but has gained 25 percent so far this year.
Silver futures for March delivery rose 22.2 cents, or 0.76 percent, to 29.355 dollars. January platinum also climbed 12.2 dollars per ounce to 1,710.7 dollars.