Prices for the precious metals were expected to rise as a result of Japan's burgeoning nuclear crisis and anti-government protests in Libya.
The airport at the rebel-controlled Eastern Libyan city of Benghazi fell under attack by state warplanes, putting further pressure on the beleaguered fighters. Far away in Japan, 50 workers are fighting to prevent a meltdown and further leaks of radiation from nuclear reactors damaged by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami to afflict Japan last Friday.
"The situation in the Middle East and North Africa is discouraging people to go short on gold and the situation is rather delicate in Japan," Bernard Sin, head of currency and metal trading at Geneva bullion refiner MKS Finance, told the news service. "There's no other alternative really to gold."
Just after 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, gold futures gained 0.33 percent, an increase of $4.60 to $1,400.70 per troy ounce. Silver futures were down 0.11 percent, a 0.037 cent drop to $34.435 per troy ounce.
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