Gold futures jumped the most in six weeks in New York as signs of escalating tension between Ukraine and Russia fueled demand for precious metals as a haven.
NATO said there’s a risk of Russia sending troops into Ukraine under the “pretext” of a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission after President Vladimir Putin massed soldiers on his country’s western border. The MSCI All-Country World Index of equities fell as much as 0.7 percent after Italy unexpectedly slipped back into recession.
Bullion prices climbed 8.8 percent this year as tensions in Eastern Europe and violence in the Middle East renewed investor interest in the metal. The 2014 rally has topped gains for broad measures of stocks, Treasuries and commodities. Last month, holdings in exchange-traded products backed by the metal rose the most since November 2012.
“Gold is getting the fear bid,” Charlie Bilello, director of research who helps oversee $220 million of assets at New York-based Pension Partners LLC, said in a telephone interview. “Concern about a correction in the equity market is also bringing some people to gold.”
On the Comex, gold futures for December delivery rose 1.8 percent to settle at $1,308.20 an ounce at 1:38 p.m. in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since June 19. Prices reached $1,311 today, the highest since July 29.
The metal tumbled 28 percent in 2013, the most in three decades, after some investors lost their faith in the metal as a store of value amid an equity rally and as inflation remained muted.
Bullion dropped 3 percent last month on concern that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates as the economy gained traction. Prices jumped 70 percent from December 2008 to June 2011 as the Fed bought debt and held borrowing costs at an all-time low.
Silver futures for September delivery advanced 1 percent to $20.024 an ounce on the Comex, ending a four-session decline.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for October delivery rose 0.6 percent to $1,465.20 an ounce.
Palladium futures for September delivery rose 0.1 percent to $848.90 an ounce.
The price has climbed 18 percent this year after a five-month strike by miners cut output in South Africa, the world’s biggest second-biggest producer. Russia is the top source of the metal, used mostly in pollution-control devices in cars and trucks.