Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Although gold prices firmed initially on safe-haven buying driven by fears that unrest in Egypt could spread across the Middle East, strong U.S. factory and spending data coupled with fading worries about the euro zone debt crisis put a damper on the metal’s rally.

Brent crude prices started the week hitting a 28-month peak on Friday as unrest in Egypt rattled markets, according to reports.

Crude prices continued to rise as disruptions at Egyptian ports and Jordan’s government shake up kept concerns about unrest in the region and the potential for oil supply interruptions in focus.

Brent crude approached US$ 103 per barrel on Thursday after violent clashes in Egypt raised the prospect of further unrest across the Middle East, overshadowing the bearish effect of soaring gasoline inventories in top consumer the United States.

BBN/SI/AD-06Feb11=9:48 am (BST)