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Written by: Staff

SINGAPORE, May 3 (Reuters) Gold hit a fresh 25 year high on Wednesday as fund buying persisted, driven by a weak dollar, strong oil prices and concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In platinum group metals, platinum hit a record high while sister metal palladium rose to a level not seen since April 2002. Fund buying in New York spilled into Asia despite a holiday in key player Japan.

Gold has gained around 29 percent this year as investors diversified into precious metals on global tensions, rising energy costs and uncertainty over the dollar's outlook.

''Iran and Israel are making threatening noises. Any number of facts are pushing it up,'' said David Thurtell, commodity strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. ''(It) could get to $670,'' he said, referring to gold's immediate resistance.

Spot gold rose as high as $668.40 an ounce before retreating to $668.30/669.30, still up from $666.20/667.20 late in New York on Tuesday.

U.S. crude futures hovered just below $75 a barrel on Wednesday, within sight of record highs, rising for a fourth day on tensions over Iran's nuclear programme and speculative fund buying.

Iran threatened on Tuesday to attack Israel in response to any ''evil'' act by the United States and said it had enriched uranium to a level close to the maximum compatible with civilian use in power stations.

Gold is mainly used in jewellery and can be bought as a hedge against inflation and for future sales when holders need cash in times of trouble.

Japanese markets are closed for a holiday. Key most-distant April 2007 gold contract on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange ended 3 yen lower at 2,434 yen per gram on Tuesday.

The euro rose to $1.2632 -- not far from Monday's one-year peak of $1.2690 Platinum rose to a record $1,176 before easing to $1,175/1,182 an ounce. The metal was last quoted at $1,174/1,179 an ounce in New York.

Palladium rose as high as $381 an ounce before retreating to $380/387, hardly changed from $380/385 in the U.S.

Silver gained to $14.34/14.44 from $14.22/12.32 in New York, but off a 23-year peak of $14.68 hit two weeks ago.

Reuters DKS VP0745

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