Gold prices in India surged to record highs today as the Iran-US conflict escalated after the Persian Gulf nation fired missiles at multiple bases housing US troops in Iraq. Investors will turn their attention to the US response. On MCX, February gold futures today surged 1.4% or nearly ₹600 to a record high of ₹41,220 per 10 gram. Silver futures on MCX jumped 1.4% or nearly ₹700 to ₹48,785 per kg. Gold prices jump in times of in times of political and economic uncertainty.
In India, gold is off to a scorching start this year amid rising hostilities in the Middle East and depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar, after posting 25% gain in 2019. The rupee today traded at 72.01 against the US dollar in early trade. In four days, gold is up about ₹2,000 per 10 gram.
In global markets, gold prices surged 2% to cross the key $1,600 mark, a nearly 7-year high, as investors sought refuge in the safe-haven metal amid escalating Iran-US crisis. Spot gold rates climbed over 2% to as much as $1,610.90. Among other precious metals silver prices jumped 1.2% to $18.60 per ounce while platinum advanced 0.3% to $973.95. Elsewhere, palladium hit a fresh all-time peak of $2,056.01 an ounce.
The Middle East crisis flared up again after Iran attacked military facilities in Iraq hosting American troops in its first retaliation to the killing of a top general by US forces last week. It wasn’t immediately clear whether there were casualties or major damage from the attacks. The US confirmed the attack with President Donald tweeting: “Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”
Apart from geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, gold is likely to get further direction from US monthly non-farm payroll data, due on Friday, says Abhishek Bansal, chairman of ABans Group of Companies. The US Federal Reserve will also take cues from payroll data to decide the policy path in 2020, he added.
Analysts say that gold prices will remain supported amid the Middle East crisis. Reflecting the investor sentiment, holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose 0.10% to 896.18 tonnes on Monday, as compared to Friday while speculators increased their bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to December 31, SMC Global Securities Ltd said in a note.