1st Ld Writethru: Gold rises on rising safe-haven demand

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Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose sharply Thursday as tense situation in Egypt and the plunging U.S. stock markets have bolstered safe-haven demand for gold.

The most active gold contract for December delivery gained 27.5 dollars, or 2.06 percent, to settle at 1,360.9 dollars per ounce.

Violent clashes sweeping through Egypt Wednesday left more than 500 people dead and more than 3,700 injured, triggering a greater safe-haven demand for gold. Sharp decreases at the U.S. stock markets further solidified the demand.

Most economic data released Thursday were negative to gold market but failed to produce any effect. U.S. Labor Department reported that the number of people applying for new jobless benefits fell 15,000 to 320,000 in the week ending Aug. 10, the lowest level since October 2007. Also, the U.S. consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in July, matching economists' expectations. Meanwhile, U.S. industrial production remained unchanged in July, while the National Association of Home Builders-Wells Fargo housing market index rose 3 points to 59, the highest level in nearly eight years.

Nevertheless, the New York Fed's Empire State general business conditions index released Thursday fell to 8.2 in August from 9.5 in July, and the Philly Fed index measuring manufacturing activity in Philadelphia retreated to 9.3, supportive of gold.

The World Gold Council said in a report released Thursday that gold demand in the second quarter fell 12 percent in tonnage terms and 23 percent in dollar terms, the lowest level in more than three years.

Silver for September delivery rose 1.148 dollars, or 5.27 percent, to close at 22.935 dollars per ounce. Platinum for October delivery climbed 27.1 dollar, or 1.8 percent, to close at 1,532.3 dollars per ounce. Endi

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