- After hitting fresh multi-month highs at $1914, spot gold is consolidating above $1900 as the Russia/Ukraine crisis escalates.
- As traders worry about the rising risk of a full-scale Russian military incursion into Ukraine, gold will likely remain supported.
As the Russia/Ukraine crisis continues to escalate, most recently with Russia recognising the independence of and moving troops into two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, prompting NATO nations to announce/prepare new sanctions on Russia, gold has moved back above $1900. Spot prices (XAU/USD) hit fresh multi-month highs at $1914 on Tuesday and, though pulling back from these highs printed during Asia pacific trade as dip-buying facilitating an intra-day rebound in global equities markets, has remained above the key $1900 level.
With market participants nervous that Russia/pro-Russia separatists in Eastern Ukraine could initiate further hostilities against Ukraine, thus further escalating the risk of an all-out Ukraine/Russia conflict, gold is likely to remain well underpinned this week. Brent oil spiked to close to $100 per barrel on Tuesday and EU natural gas prices were up sharply as Germany pledged not to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas directly to Germany from Russia. The upside risks posed to global inflation from any continued spike in energy prices as a result of further Russia/Ukraine crisis escalation is likely boosting demand for gold as an inflation hedge.
Recent Fed speak and US data releases have not had much of an impact on gold in recent days as price action takes its cue from geopolitics. Hawkish commentary from Fed’s Michelle Bowman on Monday, who essentially said she was still undecided as the whether the Fed should hike rates by 25 or 50bps in March, was roundly shrugged off. That suggests that other Fed speak this week is also likely to be ignored, or, at least, play second fiddle, with this also likely the case for Friday’s January US Core PCE inflation data. Ahead of that, traders should keep an eye on upcoming US PMI and CB Consumer Confidence surveys, both the flash readings for February.