Gold rises as Russia-Ukraine conflict continues

CHICAGO, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose on Thursday as Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to invoke safe haven demand.

The most active gold contract for June delivery rose 15 U.S. dollars, or 0.77 percent, to close at 1,954 dollars per ounce.

Gold rose 2.8 percent for March, and 6.9 percent for the first quarter of this year.

Russia issued a decree on Thursday, demanding payment for natural gas in rubles. This suggests that a breakthrough in peace talks is still far away.

U.S. Department of Commerce reported on Thursday that U.S. consumer spending increased by 0.2 percent in February, indicating high inflation and supporting gold.

U.S. initial jobless claims rose by 14,000 to 202,000 for the week ending March 26, U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday. The previous week's tally of 188,000 claims was the fewest since 1969.

The Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI), released on Thursday by the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago, rose to 62.9 in March, better than expected and capping gold's rise somewhat.

Silver for May delivery rose 2 cents, or 0.08 percent, to close at 25.133 dollars per ounce. Platinum for July delivery fell 5.4 dollars, or 0.54 percent, to close at 995.8 dollars per ounce.