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Gold jumps 1% as attacks on Saudi Arabia lift safe-haven bets

RIYADH (Reuters): Gold prices jumped 1% on Monday as attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities dented risk appetite, boosting demand for the safe-haven bullion, while investors awaited for clues on monetary easing from major central bank meetings due this week.

Spot gold was up 1% at $1,503.60 per ounce, as of 0601 GMT. Prices had dipped 1.2% in the previous week on hopes that an end to the U.S.-China trade tiff could be near.

U.S. gold futures rose 0.8% to $1,511.40 per ounce.

The attacks on Saudi oil installations have led to a rotation of interests out of stocks and into safe-havens, said OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley.

The risk-averse sentiment in the market underpinned the bullion, often seen as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty.

With escalating tensions in the Middle East and hopes of more stimulus measures from major central banks, the next target for gold will be $1,530, Halley added.

Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for the attack over the weekend on the world’s biggest oil-processing facility.

The event hurt risk sentiment in the markets, with Asian equities trading lower at 515.4, and the safe-haven yen up 0.4% to 107.64 per dollar. Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was 0.2% lower at 98.053.

Investors also await the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan’s policy meetings on Wednesday, for signals on their future policy path.

“Accommodative monetary policy by global central banks will support bullion’s appeal for 2H 2019,” Phillip Futures analyst Benjamin Lu said in a note.

Central banks globally are facing increasing pressure to dole out monetary support for flagging economies as the U.S.-China trade dispute hurt trade and business sentiment. Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and weigh on the dollar.

Denting risk sentiment was dismal data from China, which showed factory and consumer sectors slowed further in August, with industrial production growing at the weakest pace in 17-1/2 years, a sign of increasing weakness in an economy lashed by trade headwinds and soft domestic demand.

Spot gold could retest resistance at $1,524 per ounce, as it has temporarily bottomed around a support at $1,480, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Among other precious metals, silver jumped as much as 3% to $18 an ounce and platinum was up 0.5% at $953.31. Meanwhile, palladium rose 0.5% to $1,614.00 per ounce.

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