Gold Futures Advance to Two-Week High on Ukraine Turmoil

Gold futures climbed to the highest in almost two weeks as the dollar’s decline and renewed tension in Ukraine increased demand for the metal as a haven asset.

The greenback fell to the lowest since October against a basket of 10 currencies. Ukraine sent security forces into eastern regions after pro-Russian protesters seized government buildings. Gold has climbed 8.9 percent this year, reaching a six-month high on March 17, partly as Russia’s annexation of Crimea sparked the most-serious confrontation with the U.S. since the Cold War.

Investors returned to gold after a 28 percent plunge last year that was biggest since 1981. Last month, holdings in exchange-traded products backed by the metal climbed 0.8 percent, the most since November 2012. Futures jumped 70 percent from December 2008 to June 2011 as the Federal Reserve bought debt and cut interest rates to a record in a bid to boost the U.S. economy. The central bank releases minutes of its March meeting tomorrow.

“Gold is finding support from geopolitical tension as the Ukraine situation is heating up again,” Dan Denbow, a portfolio manager at the $1 billion USAA Precious Metals & Minerals Fund in San Antonio, said in a telephone interview. “The dollar weakness is also helping gold. We are seeing interest in overall commodities.”

On the Comex in New York, gold futures for June delivery rose 0.8 percent to settle at $1,309.10 an ounce at 1:49 p.m. Earlier, the price reached $1,314.70, the highest for a most-active contract since March 26. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials rose as much as 1.4 percent.

China Demand

Demand in China, the world’s biggest gold buyer, is expected to remain resilient, James Steel, a metal analyst at HSBC Securities Inc. in New York, said in an April 4 report. Imports by India, the second-largest consumer, more than doubled in March from February, according to a government official with direct knowledge of the matter.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last month the central bank may start to increase interest rates about six months after ending its asset-buying program. Gold tumbled last year partly on concern that accelerating U.S. growth would mean the end of monetary stimulus.

Morgan Stanley forecast that gold will average $1,150 in the fourth quarter on the outlook for rising interest rates and investor demand for assets such as equities and the dollar. Fed policy makers at their March meeting reduced monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $55 billion.

Silver futures for May delivery rose 0.8 percent to $20.057 an ounce on the Comex.

Platinum futures for July delivery gained 1 percent to $1,441.70 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. ETP holdings increased 1.1 percent to a record 81.4 metric tons yesterday, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Palladium futures for June delivery rose 1.1 percent to $775.85 an ounce.

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