Gold futures slipped Friday, but were headed for the sharpest weekly gains in nine months, as the crisis in Ukraine helped the commodity extend its run-up toward an eight-month high on Thursday.
Earlier in the session, the most-active contract touched the highest intraday level so far this year at around $1,905 an ounce before retreating.
“The escalation in military aggression in Ukraine has seen a flight to gold with the price now challenging $1,900 an ounce and trading at levels not seen since June 2021,” wrote Rupert Rowling, market analyst at Kinesis Money, in a daily note.
“The fact these gains have come in a week in which the Federal Reserve has plotted out its likely interest rate hike trajectory highlights that fear is the dominant emotion among many investors,” he wrote.
Gold for April delivery
was trading $6, or 0.3%, to $1,896 an ounce, after surging 1.6% on Thursday, carving out the highest settlement for the most-active contract since June 2, 2021, FactSet data show. For the week, the precious metal is up 2.9%, which would mark its steepest weekly rise since May of 2021. On Thursday,
Conflict between Russia and Ukraine intensified on Friday, with reports of shelling along the front line in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with Kyiv saying its troops have been issued orders to exercise restraint in responding to artillery fire, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Investors in precious metals also have been closely monitoring monetary policy developments, with the Federal Reserve expected to raise interest rates to combat high inflation. The minutes released on Wednesday from the Fed’s late-January policy meeting, however, didn’t imply that the central bank was adopting a more hawkish stance than investors have already anticipated, which had helped support further buying in nonyielding gold.