CHICAGO, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose on Friday as the U.S. dollar weakened.
The most active gold contract for April delivery rose 50.50 U.S. dollars, or 2.63 percent, to close at 1,973.50 dollars per ounce.
A global banking crisis continues to weigh on investors' sentiment, driving investors to safe-haven gold.
Gold is also benefiting from market speculations that the Federal Reserve may end its cycle of interest-rate hikes after one more 25-basis-point rate hike at its meeting next week.
The speculation dampened the U.S. dollar index.
Economic data released on Friday further supported gold. The Federal Reserve reported that U.S. industrial production remained unchanged in February, falling short of market expectations for a 0.2-percent increase.
Preliminary reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell to 63.4 in March from February's 67, the first time in four months. Economists were expecting the index to remain unchanged from February.
Silver for May delivery rose 77 cents, or 3.55 percent, to close at 22.462 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery rose 1.50 dollars, or 0.15 percent, to close at 978.60 dollars per ounce.