By Jan Harvey
LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose above $1,400 an ounce on Monday for the first time in nearly seven weeks as violence flared in North Africa and the Middle East, boosting interest in the precious metal as a haven from risk.
Tensions have spread from Egypt and Tunisia, where protests unseated leaders earlier this month, across the Middle East and North Africa, threatening the grip of long-entrenched autocratic leaders.
Spot gold rose as high as $1,400.40 an ounce and was bid at $1,399.60 an ounce at 1045 GMT, against $1,388.58 late in New York on Friday. U.S. gold futures for April delivery rose $11.70 an ounce to $1,400.30, having peaked at $1,401.30.
Gold priced in euros hit its highest since Jan. 19 at 1,023.91 euros an ounce, and sterling-priced gold its highest since Jan. 14 at 863.54 pounds an ounce.
"There is no doubt that the recent move higher across the precious metals reflects a degree of safe-haven buying as a result of the unrest in the Middle East," said Daniel Major, an analyst at RBS Global Banking & Markets.