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Gold prices reaches near nine-month high as Ukraine crisis deepens

The gold prices hit a near nine month-high on Tuesday, after Russia ordered troops into breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine which is boosting demand for the safe-haven metal. 

FUNDAMENTALS 

* Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,909.54 per ounce, as of 0035 GMT, after scaling its highest since June 1 at $1,913.89 per ounce earlier. U.S. gold futures gained 0.7% to $1,913.60. 

* Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent on Monday and ordered the Russian Army to launch what Moscow called a peacekeeping operation into the area, accelerating a crisis the West fears could unleash a major war. 

* Oil jumped to a seven-year high, safe-havens rallied and U.S. stock futures dived. 

* U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order to prohibit trade and investment between U.S. individuals and the two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, the White House said. 

* U.S. benchmark 10-year yields slipped on the back of the Ukraine crisis and U.S. Federal Reserve rate hike bets, moving away from a more than two-year peak hit last week. 

* Fed officials agreed that with inflation tightening its grip on the economy and employment strong, it was time to raise interest rates, but also that any decisions would depend on a meeting-by-meeting analysis of inflation and other data. 

* While bullion is considered a hedge against inflation and geopolitical risks, interest rate hikes would raise the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. 

* Spot silver was up 0.4% at $24.03 per ounce, platinum rose 0.5% to $1,080.03 and palladium gained 0.5% to $2,399.41.

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