Gold steadies with Iran jitters easing; palladium tops $2,100

Funeral of Qasem Soleimani, Tehran, Iran. Jan 6, 2020. (Image courtesy of Majid Asgaripour | Wikimedia Commons)

Gold prices stabilized after paring earlier gains amid signs that both sides in the US-Iran hostilities wanted to pull back from the brink of conflict. Palladium rose to a fresh record above $2,100 an ounce.

Iran apparently intended to avoid US casualties when it launched more than a dozen missiles at US-Iraqi airbases in retaliation for an American airstrike that killed a top Iranian general, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter. Earlier, gold jumped above $1,600 for the first time in almost seven years after the attack boosted demand for the metal as a haven asset.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that “All is well!” He is expected to make a statement later Wednesday.

Gold jumped above $1,600 for the first time in almost seven years after the attack boosted demand for the metal as a haven asset

“Gold essentially responded to risk-off environments,” Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities, said by phone on Wednesday. “No American lives were lost, and the president was quite clear that if American lives were lost we would retaliate.”

While bullion’s blistering start to the year has been driven by the rising hostilities in the Middle East, the metal was already rallying last year as the Federal Reserve eased policy, governments added gold to reserves, and holdings in exchange-traded funds rose.

Gold futures for February delivery climbed as much as 2.5% to $1,613.30 an ounce on Wednesday, the highest for a most-active contract since March 2013. Prices retreated to $1,573.60 by 10:10 a.m. on the Comex in New York.

In other precious metals, spot palladium climbed as much as 2.5% to hit a record $2,105.55 an ounce. Palladium futures advanced on the New York Mercantile Exchange along with platinum, while silver futures were little changed on the Comex.

(Update: at market close Wednesday, gold price was $1,552.30)

(By Justina Vasquez)

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