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Gold Prices Pop as Investors Seek Safety

NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Gold prices popped Monday despite a stronger U.S. dollar as stronger physical demand and safe haven buying kicked in.

Gold for December delivery jumped $35 to close at $1,791.10 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange and were climbing higher in after-hours trading. The gold price has traded as high as $1,787.80 and as low as $1,754 an ounce.

Silver prices closed up 74 cents at $34.82 an ounce while the U.S. dollar index was slightly higher at $76.93.

In Europe, it's Greek redux, with 10-year Italian bond yields soaring over 6.6%, a euro-record high, Prime Minister Berlusconi losing three party members in a week and the lower house preparing to vote on 2012 budget issues on Tuesday, which, if defeated, could trigger another confidence vote for Berlusconi.

Now that Greece is shifting to an interim government, which should approve austerity measures and its next tranche of bailout money, investors are focusing on the drama unfolding in Italy. According to Kitco's gold index, gold demand was up more than $43 and the rally was shaking off a stronger U.S. dollar, leaving the overall price up $41.80 an ounce.

The latest commitment of traders report for the week ending November 1st,showed that speculative traders added 1,003 long contracts and reduced their short positions by 9,221 contracts, which means some of gold's 3% two-day rally last week was short covering and modest long exposure.

James Moore, research analyst at FastMarkets, says that current safe haven buying could push prices "towards the $1785-1800 area in the coming sessions." Gold was rising in all currencies with the strongest gains coming in the swiss franc -- gold was up 4.25% -- on weekend reports that the Swiss National Bank was ready to take further steps to devalue its currency. The bank has previously pegged the swiss franc to the euro at an exchange rate of 1.2 francs per euro, but could raise the rate if need be.

Barclays Capital also reiterated its bullish stance on gold "we expect near-term buying interest ... to underpin a move higher. A break above resistance at $1,775 would confirm our bullish view toward our target near $1,840" an ounce.

Rumors were also flying this weekend that Germany or other Eurozone central banks would be forced to sell gold in their reserves to help increase the firing power of the European Financial Stability Fund, or bailout fund. Germany is the second-largest holder of gold in the world, with 3,401 tons, and holds the third most gold as a percentage of its reserves, behind Greece and Portugal, according to the World Gold Council.

At current prices all of Germany's gold would net $193 billion, well short of the trillion plus dollars officials were hoping to expand the bailout fund to.

German officials reportedly said Monday that the gold will "remain off limits," but gold in the weaker EU nations could be used as collateral. "Gold's value as money and as a strategically important monetary asset is being slowly realized again," says Mark O'Byrne, CEO of GoldCorp, a bullion dealer.

Gold mining stocks were popping Monday with many like Randgold (GOLD) jumping to new 52-week highs . Kinross Gold (KGC - Get Report) was adding 3.21% to $14.79 while Yamana Gold (AUY - Get Report) was up 1.29% at $16.47. Other gold stocks, Agnico-Eagle (AEM - Get Report) and Eldorado Gold (EGO - Get Report) were trading higher at $46.95 and $19.33, respectively.

-- Written by Alix Steel in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Alix Steel.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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