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Gold prices rise to near $2,400 as M.East tensions fuel safe haven demand

Published 16/04/2024, 06:02
© Reuters.

Investing.com-- Gold prices rose in Asian trade, sitting close to record highs as safe haven demand remained underpinned by concerns over worsening geopolitical tensions between Iran and Israel.

But a spike in the dollar limited bigger gains in the yellow metal, as growing expectations of higher-for-longer U.S. interest rates pushed up Treasury yields. 

Still, the yellow metal was sitting on stellar gains over the past two weeks, buoyed chiefly by increased safe haven demand.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $2,385.35 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in June rose 0.7% to a record high of $2,401.50 an ounce by 00:17 ET (04:17 GMT). Spot gold had hit a record high of $2,431.53 an ounce on Friday, shortly before Iran launched a drone and missile strike on Israel. 

Iran-Israel tensions spur safe haven demand for gold

The yellow metal’s recent run-up was fueled largely by worsening geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, after Iran attacked Israel over the weekend. Media reports said that Israel’s response to the strike was “imminent.” 

An all-out war between the two countries could potentially draw in other Middle Eastern powers, as well as the U.S. and its allies. 

Fears of such a scenario fueled demand for gold, which is seen as a traditional safe haven for its relative price stability, especially in times of global strife.

The yellow metal was also supported by central bank buying over the past year, especially in emerging markets, amid growing fears of a global economic downturn in 2024.

Spot gold was trading up 15.5% so far in 2024. 

Powell speech on tap as rate fears grow 

Markets were now awaiting a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later on Tuesday for more cues on potential interest rate cuts this year. 

The speech comes shortly after strong inflation and retail sales data saw traders largely price out expectations for an interest rate cut in June. 

This notion limited some upside in gold, as traders bought dollars as a hedge against potentially higher-for-longer U.S. interest rates.

Other precious metals were mixed on Tuesday. Platinum futures fell 0.3% to $981.30 an ounce, while silver futures rose 0.6% to $28.880 an ounce.

Copper prices dip from 22-mth high after mixed Chinese data 

Among industrial metals, copper prices fell from 22-month highs on Tuesday, as data from top importer China offered mixed cues.

Three-month copper futures on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.3% to $9,544.50 a ton, while one-month U.S. copper futures fell 0.6% to $4.3515 a pound. 

While gross domestic product data showed China’s economy grew more than expected in the first quarter, industrial production and retail sales readings for March showed that this momentum appeared to be already waning. 

Still, the prospect of tighter copper markets, after several Chinese copper refiners flagged production cuts- kept copper prices trading close to 22-month highs. 

Among other metals, aluminum prices cooled after the prospect of tighter supplies, following stricter western sanctions on Russia, pushed prices to 22-month highs.

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