Gold and other precious-metals prices have fallen sharply after Russia’s president said he doesn’t want a partition of Ukraine, easing worries that Russia may move further into the country after its annexation of Crimea.
Gold for April delivery, the most active contract, on Tuesday fell $US13.90, or just over one per cent, to settle at $US1,359 per troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Silver dropped nearly two per cent to $US20.862.
Palladium fell 0.6 per cent to $US771.40 and platinum was down 0.5 per cent to $US1,461.70.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a treaty to annex the breakaway Ukrainian region of Crimea, defying Western sanctions against senior officials and denunciations of the move as a violation of international law.
He said Russia isn’t seeking “a partition of Ukraine” and would defend the interests of Russian speakers in the country by “diplomatic and legal means”.
With the US and European Union limiting their response to sanctions against a narrow list of Russian officials, investors unwound bets on precious metals made to hedge against a crisis in the region.
Some investors view gold, as well as other precious metals, as a better bet than currencies or bonds during periods of geopolitical uncertainty, because gold’s value isn’t tied to a government or country.
“Certainly for the moment, there is a sense that this crisis has passed,” said Frank Lesh, a broker at FuturePath Trading.
“There is less reason to hold gold now.”
But analysts at Kitco Metals noted that the situation “is still far from stable” given both Russian and Ukrainian military forces remain in the region.
“Any escalation of tensions in Ukraine would quickly put keen risk-aversion back into the marketplace,” they said.
Settlements (ranges include open-outcry and electronic trading):
London PM Gold Fix: $US1,355.75; previous PM $US1,378.50
Apr gold $US1,359, down $US13.90; Range $US1,351.10-$US1,362.70
May silver $US20.862, down 41.3 cents; Range $US20.625-$US20.920
Apr platinum $US1,461.70, down $US6.70; Range $US1,452.30-$US1,467.50
Jun palladium $US771.40, down $US5; Range $US760.45-$US772.25