Gold gains as Ukraine fighting boosts safe-haven demand
- U.S. 10-year Treasury yields firm
- Gold up after worst week since June
- Equities down on Ukraine crisis
March 21 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Monday as fighting in Ukraine boosted demand for safe-haven bullion, while investors kept a close tab on Moscow-Kyiv peace talks.
Spot gold rose 0.5% to $1,931.16 per ounce by 1:51 p.m. ET (1751 GMT). U.S. gold futures for April settled mostly unchanged at $1,929.50.
"Another escalation around Ukraine will drive significant safe haven flows to gold, even inflation hedge moves if we see sanctions that trigger another commodity surge," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Russia and Ukraine were nearing agreement on "critical" issues, Turkey's foreign minister said on Sunday, but demand for riskier assets retreated and oil prices climbed as fighting continued. read more
While rumours of a potential compromise over the weekend brought gold prices down from their highs, the "next launching pad for gold would be the $1,900 area," said Rob Lutts, chief investment officer at Cabot Wealth Management.
Last week, gold shed more than 3% on hopes for progress in the talks and a U.S. interest rate hike. read more
Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Raphael Bostic said on Monday he was open to a more aggressive policy tightening, while pencilling in six rate hikes for 2022.
The market implies a 50-50 chance of a half point hike in May and an even greater chance by June.
"Even if the Fed's upper estimates of rate raises become reality, inflation will still be ahead, and real interest rates negative, maintaining a positive environment for gold in the medium term," analysts at Heraeus precious metals wrote in a note.
Spot silver rose 0.8% to $25.15, platinum was up 1.7% at $1,038.98, while palladium rose 3.2% to $2,569.68.
The Ukraine conflict coupled with COVID-related restrictions in semiconductor fabrication hubs in China could hurt automotive demand for metals such as palladium, used as an autocatalyst in vehicle exhausts to curb emissions, Heraeus added.
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