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Gold prices strong as Russia and Ukraine square off

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Gold rose on Monday amid tensions in Ukraine following Russia’s surprising seizure of Crimea. Russia’s aggressive moves have increased the safe haven demand for the yellow precious metal.

Gold bullion for immediate delivery grew by as much as 1.3 percent to $1,343.62 per ounce in early trading. This follows a 6.6 percent growth in February and a 3.2 percent gain in January.

“Bullion is the biggest gainer in 2014 after coffee and lean hogs on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 commodities as unrest in Ukraine and a slowdown in Chinahurt emerging-market assets and boosted demand for a store of value,” wrote Glenys Sim in Bloomberg.

Russia seized control of the Black Sea region of Ukraine over the weekend, prompting Ukraine to mobilize its army reserves and call for foreign observers. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled l to the Ukraine on Monday and European Union foreign ministers have scheduled an emergency meeting.

“No one likes conflict between two superpowers," a managing partner of global wealth management at Mumbai-based Edelweiss Financial Services told Bloomberg. "It has an uneasy feeling in the markets."

“Right now people are buying gold as protection against more geopolitical problems,” said Chris Weston, commodity analyst with IG Markets, in an interview with Kitco News. “That is a trend that could continue through the week.”

President Obama denounced the Russia’s invasion and asked Putin to pull his troops back or face greater political and economic isolation.

“Market analysts add that the geopolitical tensions are the highest since the end of the Cold War,” wrote Kitco News’ Neils Christensen.

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