Oct 20 – Gold extended gains on Friday and headed for a second consecutive weekly gain, as fears of a further escalation in the Middle East conflict fed bullion’s safe-haven appeal.
Spot gold was up 0.3% at USD 1,979.39 per ounce by 3:04 p.m. ET (1904 GMT), after hitting its highest since May earlier in the session. US gold futures settled 0.7% higher at USD 1,994.40.
Israel leveled a northern Gaza district after giving families a half-hour warning to escape, and hit an Orthodox Christian church where others had been sheltering, as it made clear that a command to invade Gaza was expected soon.
“People fluttered into gold and found a sense of safety amid geo-political risks. If there is an escalation in the Middle East conflict, gold prices will push through USD 2,000,” said Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago.
Gold has risen 2.5% this week, and added nearly USD 160 since the onset of the conflict.
On the technical front, “failure to trigger a long overdue consolidation and correction back down towards USD 1,946 could see prices move higher to eventually challenge resistance around USD 2,075, the nominal record high from 2020,” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, wrote in a note.
Traders also digested comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday, who left open the possible need for more rate hikes – which would increase the opportunity cost of holding zero-yield bullion – but also noted emerging risks and a need to move with care.
In physical markets, gold dealers in India were forced to offer steeper discounts as a jump in domestic prices slowed demand ahead of a key festival.
Silver rose 1.4% to USD 23.35 per ounce, platinum gained 0.7% to USD 896.47. Both were set for their second consecutive weekly rise.
Palladium rose 0.9% to USD 1,104.18, but headed for its fourth straight weekly decline.
(Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Shailesh Kuber)