Gold perched near three month peak as Ukraine tensions spur demand

Higher yields dent the demand for bullion by raising the opportunity cost of holding non-interest-paying gold, while a firmer dollar makes the metal less attractive for overseas buyers.

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New York: Gold prices eased on Monday from a three-month high touched in the previous session, pressured by stronger U.S. dollar and bond yields, although losses were limited as rising tensions surrounding Ukraine supported safe-haven demand for bullion.

Spot gold was down 0.4% at $1,851.96 per ounce, as of 0436 GMT. In the previous session, prices jumped the most since mid-October and hit their highest level since Nov. 19 at $1,865.15.

Weighing on gold, the dollar and safe-haven currencies held their gains, while yields on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note edged higher.

Higher yields dent the demand for bullion by raising the opportunity cost of holding non-interest-paying gold, while a firmer dollar makes the metal less attractive for overseas buyers.

“Opportunistic longs that were looking for the momentum of Friday’s move and not anything longer than that are coming off a bit and there’s a bit of consolidation around these levels,” said Ilya Spivak, a currency strategist at DailyFX.

However, “the Ukraine situation is a significant risk, because the extent that it inspires volatility, it may again drive down bond yields, which would be gold supportive.”

Russia might create a surprise pretext for an attack on Ukraine, the United States said on Sunday. However, Moscow denies any such plans and has accused the West of “hysteria”, even as it has more than 100,000 troops massed near Ukraine.

Unless there is an indication of de-escalation, “momentum would be on the side of gold prices with gold bulls eyeing $1,900 an ounce as their immediate target this week if the White House has got their judgment right about (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s intentions,” Phillip Futures analyst Avtar Sandu said in a note.

Among other metals, spot silver edged 0.1% higher to $23.58 per ounce, while platinum was up 0.4% at $1,031.86 while palladium jumped 2.7% to $2,368.51 per ounce.

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