2012 Gold futures on the COMEX Division of the New York Mercantile Exchange

Gold futures on the COMEX Division of the New York Mercantile Exchange extended gains on Wednesday, lifted by strong demand from China and India as well as short covering.

The most active gold contract for February delivery added 8.1 dollars, or 0.5 percent, to 1,639.6 dollars per ounce.

Gold received a strong boost from a report showed that Chinese mainland imported 102,799 kilograms of gold from Hong Kong in November, a 20-percent increase from the previous month and a 483-percent year-over-year increase.

A trader said gold demand usually rise ahead of the Lunar Chinese New Year, which falls on Jan. 23 this year, in China and elsewhere in Asia.

Meanwhile, dealers also reported strong physical demand from India, the world’s largest bullion buyer, after the rupee hit a one-month high against the dollar, which is also considered quite supportive to gold.

Market analysts said gold came under some pressure on Wednesday, as U.S. dollar strengthened considerably as the euro dipped after a Fitch analyst warned about the currency’s plight if euro-zone central bankers didn’t act more aggressively.

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