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Gold Jumps to Top $2,400 as Middle East Risks Stoke Haven Demand

Gold Jumps to Top $2,400 as Middle East Risks Stoke Haven Demand
Two Argor-Heraeus SA 250 gram gold bars at Solar Capital Gold Zrt. arranged in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Gold edged higher in Asian trading -- following its biggest weekly drop since June -- as investors weighed monetary policy tightening in the U.S. against the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war. Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

Gold surged to a fresh record as simmering Middle East tensions intensified buying momentum.

Bullion broke the $2,400-an-ounce mark for the first time on Friday morning, climbing as much as 2.4% to $2,429.82. The US and its allies believe a major missile attack by Iran or its proxies is imminent in retaliation for an Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Syria.

Bullion has advanced 18% so far this year, exceeding the 13% advance registered for all of last year. The precious metal’s rally and its often-outsized moves have left some onlookers puzzled because of the lack of any obvious triggers — particularly as the outlook for interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve has become muddier in recent weeks.

Still, elevated tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine and ongoing problems in China’s economy are adding to bullion’s allure as a haven asset. Meanwhile, some investors have been seeking safety on bets that inflation may stick higher in the long run, underpinning gold’s run.

Gold Hits Record as Mideast Tensions Lift Demand | Silver rallies to highest price since early 2021

“Gold prices are up again this morning, as more investors view it as a better hedge against geopolitical risk than government bonds due to US inflation concerns,” Mohamed A. El-Erian, the president of Queens’ College in Cambridge and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, wrote in a post on X.

The precious metal has also powered higher this year, dragging silver along with it, as central banks including China’s stepped up purchases of the costlier metal.

Spot gold was 2.3% higher at $2,426.69 an ounce at 11:01 a.m. in New York, with the metal on track for a fourth weekly advance, the longest such run since early 2023. Silver rallied to as much as $29.6637 an ounce, the highest since February 2021. Both metals’ 14-day relative-strength indexes are hovering near 80, well beyond the level that some investors see as overbought, potentially heralding a pause.

Platinum and palladium also advanced, even as the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index traded at the highest level since November. A stronger US currency is typically a headwind for commodities priced in the greenback as it can dull interest from overseas buyers.

“Geopolitical risk is the fulcrum here,” said Rhona O’Connell, head of market analysis at StoneX Financial Ltd. In a year with more than 50 local and national elections, ongoing tensions in the Middle East add “further fuel to the fire.”

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  • David Forbes says:

    One has to ask the question: WHY did Israel strike a diplomatic property in Syria? What triggered that? Oh, it was a provocation to try and drag Iran into a retaliation that could trigger WW III? To bring the USA into the conflicts so that Israel’s genocide could be put aside in the panic around a major conflagration? This is all very suspicious, and Iran’s restraint in the circumstances is to be commended.

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