Gold set for third weekly gain in four as Ukraine conflict deepens

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised borrowing costs by 25 basis points on March 16, and since then top U.S. central bank policymakers have signaled a more aggressive approach to monetary policy tightening this year to fight rising inflation.

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New York: Gold on Friday was on course for a third weekly gain in four, as the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalated while the spike in oil prices this week increased demand for bullion as a safe-haven asset and an inflation hedge.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,960.84 per ounce, as of 0119 GMT. U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,961.70.

The metal hovered near a one-week high scaled in the previous session and jumped nearly 2% so far this week.

Western leaders piled on military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine on Thursday and denounced Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor as “barbarism” as thousands in besieged cities sheltered underground from Russian bombardment.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday there was evidence that Russia was trying to get round sanctions using its gold reserves.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised borrowing costs by 25 basis points on March 16, and since then top U.S. central bank policymakers have signaled a more aggressive approach to monetary policy tightening this year to fight rising inflation.

Higher interest rates dims non-yielding bullion’s appeal, but the uncertainty over the Ukraine crisis and spike in oil prices have added to the existing inflationary pressure underpinning gold prices, analysts said.

The strength in the job market reported by the Labor Department on Thursday may push the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by half a percentage point at its next policy meeting in May.

Spot silver rose 0.5% to $25.64 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.6% to $1,026.90 and palladium added 0.2% to $2,527.69.

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