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Gold prices slide as M.East fears ease, rate jitters persist

Published 22/04/2024, 03:14 pm
© Reuters.
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Investing.com-- Gold prices fell in Asian trade on Monday as waning concerns over a bigger war in the Middle East sapped safe haven demand for the yellow metal, while bets on higher-for-longer U.S. interest rates also pressured prices. 

Spot gold fell 0.9% to $2,370.45 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in June fell 1.2% to $2,384.05 an ounce by 00:48 ET (04:48 GMT). 

Gold demand eases as Iran-Israel fears wane 

The yellow metal had strengthened sharply over the past two weeks, hitting record highs above $2,400 an ounce as Iran and Israel carried out strikes against each other.

But Iran was seen downplaying the impact of an Israeli strike on Friday, while also outlining no immediate plans for retaliation. This spurred some hopes that a conflict between the two countries will not intensify, denting some safe haven demand for gold.

But reports on Monday showed that forces in Iraq had carried out some strikes against a U.S. military base in Syria, while Israel was seen continuing its offensive against Gaza. 

This kept some tensions over the Middle East in play, especially as Israel and Hamas failed to reach a ceasefire agreement. 

US rate fears remain in play 

The dollar steadied near five-month highs, while U.S. Treasury yields advanced as traders remained on edge over higher-for-longer interest rates.

Strong inflation readings for March and hawkish signals from Federal Reserve officials saw traders largely price out expectations for a June rate cut by the Fed. 

The prospect of higher-for-longer interest rates pressured gold prices, given that such a scenario increases the opportunity cost of investing in bullion.

Gold had also recently surged into overbought territory, which, with the prospect of sticky rates, made the yellow metal vulnerable to profit-taking.

Other precious metals fell on Monday. Platinum futures fell slightly to $943.80 an ounce, while silver futures slid 2.8% to $28.038 an ounce.

Copper, aluminum prices at 2-year highs on tight supply bets 

Among industrial metals, copper and aluminum prices rose slightly on Monday, notching new peaks for 2024 as the prospect of tighter supplies- following stricter sanctions on Russian metal exports- kept prices high. 

Three-month copper futures on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.3% to $9,919.50 a ton, while one-month copper futures rose 0.4% to $4.5105 a pound. Both contracts were at around two-year highs. 

Aluminum futures rose 0.2% to $2,671.0 a ton, and were at their highest level since June 2022.

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