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The Independent Online
Gold firmed further to a late London fix of pounds 331.65, spurred on by an operating rally in New York. The yellow metal passed the important dollars 332 per ounce level in early afternoon trade, but closed a dollars 1 up at dollars 331.50.

Analysts said the underlying strength of the metal was not strong enough, however, to reach dollars 334 an ounce. One trader said there was good physical demand from industry but that the rally was mainly due to a short-term lack of producer selling.

Silver rode of gold's rise and was predicted to breach the dollars 3.70 level, but again the burden of oversupply and forward buying held it back.

Platinum and palladium were firmer, and were fixed at dollars 350.25 and dollars 105.75 respectively as players turned their attention to gold.