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PRECIOUS-Gold rallies 1 percent after Brussels blasts
March 22, 2016 / 10:35 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rallies 1 percent after Brussels blasts

* Explosions hit Brussels airport, Metro, killing 34
    * Stocks fall, government bonds rise as buyers seek havens
    * GRAPHIC-2016 asset returns: reut.rs/1WAiOSC

 (Updates prices, adds comment)
    By Jan Harvey
    LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - Gold rallied more than 1
percent on Tuesday as investors sought assets seen as a haven
from risk after deadly bomb attacks hit Brussels airport and a
rush-hour Metro train in the Belgian capital.
    The attacks killed 34 people, according to public
broadcaster VRT, and triggered security alerts across Europe
that brought some cross-border traffic to a halt. 
    Spot gold rallied to a high of $1,259.60 an ounce in
the wake of the attacks, and was 0.9 percent higher at $1,254.30
an ounce at 1432 GMT. U.S. gold futures for April
delivery were up $10.60 an ounce at $1,254.80.
    "(The rise in) gold is mainly related to the attacks in
Brussels," ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said. "Gold is being
bought as a safe haven."
    European stocks fell and investors also rushed for the
safety of government bonds after the explosions in Brussels. The
euro slipped, the yen and the Swiss franc rose, and the dollar
index climbed 0.2 percent after the news.  
    A witness said he heard shouts in Arabic shortly before two
blasts struck a packed airport departure lounge at Brussels
airport. The federal prosecutor said one of the blasts was
probably triggered by a suicide bomber. 
    Haven buying sparked by the news helped offset comments from
Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart that the
United States may be in line for an interest rate rise as soon
as next month. 
    Gold had fallen for three sessions in a row before Tuesday
on uncertainty over the path of U.S. rates. Speculation rates
would rise pushed gold down 10 percent last year but it has
rebounded 20 percent so far in 2016 as those fears faded. 
    "Before the explosions we had some fairly hawkish comments
from one of the Fed officials saying a rate increase could now
be on the agenda for April," Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar
said. 
    "I'd have thought that would have weakened gold, but clearly
safe-haven buying on the back of the explosions in Brussels has
(pushed prices higher)."
    Elsewhere, data from the Swiss customs bureau showed
Switzerland's gold exports fell to an 18-month low in February
as shipments to leading gold consumers India, China and Hong
Kong slumped from the previous month. 
    Silver was up 0.6 percent at $15.94 an ounce,
platinum was up 1.3 percent at $992.99 an ounce and
palladium was 1.4 percent higher at $605.20 an ounce,
just off an earlier four-month high of $606.

    
 (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing
by David Clarke and Mark Potter)

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