In past times of geopolitical stress, the dollar has generally rallies as investors move to safer havens. That behavior was not evident today as investors fretted about possible escalation of conflicts in the Middle East and South Asia. The euro went up a teeny bit, the yen faded slightly, the pound retreated.
So where did investors go? To gold, apparently. From Bloomberg:
Gold prices rose the most in a week as mounting tensions in the Middle East and South Asia boosted the appeal of the precious metal as a haven.
Palestinian militants yesterday launched their biggest rocket attack on southern Israel in at least six months after a truce expired Dec. 19. Pakistani troops are being diverted from tribal areas near Afghanistan to the border with India, the Associated Press reported. Gold gained 4 percent this week.
“The only possible explanation for gold’s gains are the geopolitical tension in Gaza and in India and Pakistan,” said Leonard Kaplan, the president of Prospector Asset Management in Evanston, Illinois.
Gold futures for February delivery climbed $23.20, or 2.7 percent, to $871.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Dec. 17. The metal is up 6.4 percent this month.
Silver futures for March delivery gained 18 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $10.53 an ounce. The metal is still down 29 percent this year.