Gold up $2,000 Mark, Ukraine Conflict Continues
In Asia on Wednesday morning, gold was up. The yellow metal held its ground after hitting a 19-month high the previous session; it was aided by safe-haven demand as the conflict in Ukraine rages on, and US Treasury yields rise.
Gold futures had risen 1.10 percent to $2,065.70. They rose to $2,069.89 in the previous session, not far from the all-time high of $2,072.49 set in August 2020. The dollar, which normally moves in the opposite direction of gold, fell slightly on Wednesday but remained close to its more than one-and-a-half-year high set on Monday.
The United States and the United Kingdom prohibited Russian oil imports, which has little impact on gold; hence, there appears to be no further escalation in tensions between Russia and Western powers.
Treasury yields in the United States increased, with the Federal Reserve of the United States expected to raise interest rates when it announced its policy decision the following week. On the other side of the Atlantic, the European Central Bank will announce its policy decision on Thursday.
Palladium rose 3.3 percent to $3,284.67 per ounce, a 38 percent increase since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Russia is a significant producer of metal on a global scale.
Russian Crude Struggles
Oil prices rose on Wednesday as investors worried about a potential supply shock after the United States banned Russian oil imports, and there are signs that some buyers are already avoiding them.
Brent crude futures were up $2.65, or 2.07%, at $130.63 per barrel, after rising 3.9 percent the day before.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures in the United States were up $2.21, or 1.79 percent, at $125.91 per barrel, after rising 3.6 percent on Tuesday.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden imposed an immediate ban on Russian oil and other energy imports on Tuesday. At the same time, Britain said it would phase out Russian oil imports until the end of 2022.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) estimated that more than half of Russian oil exported from ports was unsold. In contrast, JP Morgan estimated that roughly 70% of Russian seaborne oil could not find buyers.
Oil prices have increased by more than 30% since Russia, the world’s second-largest crude exporter, launched a “special operation” in Ukraine. Fears of further disruptions in oil supply due to escalating sanctions against Russia have boosted purchasing.
According to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday, crude stocks in the United States increased by 2.8 million barrels for the week ended March 4, compared to analysts’ expectations for a drop, but gasoline and distillate stocks fell.