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Gold prices rose to their highest level since the days following the November elections as investors seek cover for escalating political and economic risks from Europe and the United States.

Spot gold rose 0.2% to touch a three month high of $1,238.54 in early European trading as the single currency extended declines against the U.S. dollar and bond yields around the region continued to rise over concerns linked to France's Presidential elections and the future of Greece's €85 billion EU/IMF bailout. Bullion prices have risen more than 10% since Dec. 15 compared to a 33.4% advance for the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index.

Investors have been piling into gold and gold mining stocks over the past month amid escalating political risks linked to both the protectionist stance of President Donald Trump's new administration and the myriad election risks developing in the European Union.

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That concern is also being played out in regional bond markets, where the extra yield, or spread, that investors demand to hold France's benchmark 10-year debt instead of triple-A rated German bunds rose to 0.79% -- the highest in more than four years  -- amid polls indicating Marine Le Pen, leader of the country's far-right Front National, could challenge for the country's Presidency in this spring's two-stage vote.

Greece's two-year bond yields, meanwhile, surged past 10% - compared to a rate of -0.79% for Germany - following an IMF report that urged the debt-stricken nation to broaden its tax base and step-up the pace of economic reforms, suggesting the Fund may be close to exiting the five-year, multi-stage rescue that has cost the region nearly €500 billion.

Shares in Randgold Resources (GOLD) - Get Barrick Gold Corporation Report have gained more than 8.5% to a three-month high of 7,464 pence each Wednesday after the biggest gold producer on the London Stock Exchange posted a stronger-than-expected rise in full-year profit and boosted its annual dividend by more than 50% earlier this week.

Randgold said its net profit for the fourth quarter of 2016 came in at $94.3 million, the company said, a 74.35% increase from the same three-month period last year. Full-year profits increased 38% to $294.22 billion. The South Africa-based group will increase its dividend 52% to $1 per share, paid in cash.