SINGAPORE, Dec 12 (Reuters): Gold hit its highest level in nearly 25 years in Asia today as fund buying resumed particularly in Japan, consolidating a rise of more than 20 per cent in value since the start of 2005.
Spot gold rose as high as $532.25 an ounce, its best level since April 1981, before easing slightly to $531.75/532.50 an ounce in morning trade.
Gold, used as jewellery and investment, was last quoted at $526.50/527.20 in New York Friday.
As fund buying rolled on, gold could find support at around $530, said Darren Heathcote, head of trading at N M Rothschild in Sydney.
Fund managers have been buying gold as part of a strategy to diversify portfolios due to concerns about rising energy costs and geopolitical tension, such as the threat of terrorist attacks.
Some investors also speculated about potential purchases from some of the word's central banks-previously long-time sellers.
The key gold futures contract 0 JAU: on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange rose to an 18-year high as a weak yen and persistent concerns about inflation ignited heavy buying from funds and investors.
The benchmark October gold contract rallied by its daily 50- yen limit to 2,155 yen per gramme, the highest since December 1987.
Platinum rose to $1,006/1,010 an ounce from 1,000/1,004 last quoted in New York as the benchmark platinum futures contract 0 JPL: in Tokyo reached a record high of 4,000 yen per gramme, tracking bullish gold.
The October contract finished the morning session at 4,000 yen per gramme, up 69 yen or 1.76 per cent from Friday's settlement.
Sister metal palladium rose to $294/298 an ounce from $286/289.
Silver was trading at its highest level since May 1987 at $9.03/9.06 an ounce. That was higher than New York's $9.01/9.04 an ounce.