Gold prices were steady near an eight-month high on Tuesday, as heightened tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine prompted investors to shun riskier assets and opt for safe-haven bullion.
Spot gold was steady at $1,869.46 per ounce by 0812 GMT, after hitting its highest level since June 11 at $1,879.48 earlier. U.S. gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,878.00.
Due to the Ukraine crisis, gold is supported through the inflation channel because of higher crude oil prices and through the risk aversion channel because of lower stocks, said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.
“If we lose that Ukraine impulse, then gold comes off quite quickly,” Innes said.
Bullion is usually perceived as a hedge against geopolitical conflicts, and with simmering tensions surrounding Ukraine, spot gold has risen about 5% since Jan. 31 and is set for a tenth session of gains in 12.
“The (gold) market seems to be ignoring major central banks right now because investors are lost in the fog of war and it becomes very difficult to have a salient macro or fundamental view in this type of market where you really have to just go trade on a hair trigger,” Innes said.
Further supporting bullion, benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields eased, decreasing the opportunity cost of holding non-interest-paying gold, while a slightly weaker dollar helped make the metal more attractive for overseas buyers.
If Russia further reduces gas supply into Europe, leading to higher energy prices across the board, that will be a positive for gold, said David Mitchell, managing director at Indigo Precious Metals.
“I do however expect gold to top out around $1,920-$1,930 roughly,” Mitchell said.
Elsewhere, spot silver fell 0.7% to $23.66 per ounce, platinum was down 0.2% to $1,025.81, and palladium dipped 2.4% to $2,303.45.