Gold prices have risen to a one-week high as intensifying conflict between Russia and Ukraine renew investor interest in protective assets.
Gold for June delivery, the most active contract, on Thursday rose $US6, or 0.5 per cent, to settle at $US1,290.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. This was the highest settlement since April 17, when futures closed at $US1,293.90 an ounce.
Gold prices have swung between gains and losses in recent weeks, following the waxing and waning of diplomatic friction between Russia and Ukraine. Some investors consider gold as a safe place to store their wealth during periods of political upheaval.
On Thursday, gold rocketed higher after Russia announced plans to hold military exercises, including air operations, near the Ukrainian border. The decision comes in response to clashes between pro-Russia militants and Ukrainian forces in Eastern Europe.
Gold futures had posted losses throughout the night, but “the news out of Russia caused the market to go up $US30 in a matter of a few minutes,” said Bob Haberkorn, a senior market strategist with RJO Futures in Chicago.
“You do have safe-haven demand coming back into the precious metals market, we’re seeing it here,” Haberkorn added.
Gold’s gains came as riskier investments declined, while other havens like the Japanese yen and US Treasury bonds rallied.
Other precious metals followed gold prices higher, with silver climbing 1.3 per cent to $US19.688 an ounce and Platinum up 0.4 per cent to $US1,409.60 an ounce.
Palladium for June delivery rose 2.1 per cent, or $US16.30, to settle at $US802.30 a troy ounce on the Nymex.
Russia is the world’s largest palladium producer, accounting for roughly 40 per cent of supply, and some investors worry that the escalating conflict could lead to trade sanctions from the US and Europe, limiting supply of the metal mainly used in car exhaust filters.