CHICAGO, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose sharply Wednesday as vote looms on raising the U.S. debt ceiling, a measure needed to avoid the risk of a debt default.
The most active gold contract for December delivery rose 19.9 U. S. dollars, or 1.51 percent, to settle at 1,336.2 dollars per ounce.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Wednesday that emergency steps to keep the government from hitting the debt ceiling will run out on Oct. 17, urging Congress to raise the debt limit in a timely manner. As Congress is still in a stalemate, the likelihood of a U.S. government shutdown is increasing, luring some investors to conduct short covering.
A weaker dollar has also contributed to the rise in gold prices. Dollar dropped against major currencies Wednesday as U.S. government data showed that new-home sales in the United States rose 7.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000 in August, rebounding after a large drop in July.
U.S. Commerce Department also said Wednesday that orders for durable goods rose 0.1 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted 224.9 billion dollars after a revised 8.1 percent drop in July.
China will start its Golden Week holidays next week, and its import demand for gold will also take a break, market analysts said.
Silver for December delivery gained 30 cents, or 1.39 percent, to close at 21.886 dollars per ounce. Platinum for October delivery climbed 10 dollars, or 0.7 percent, to close at 1,428.8 dollars per ounce.