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Gold Firms as Middle East Conflict Buoys Safe-Haven Appeal

April 15 (Reuters) - Gold consolidated gains on Monday, hovering near record-high levels hit in the previous session, as traders kept a close eye on developments surrounding the Middle East conflict, prompting safe-haven buying of assets such as bullion.

Spot gold was up 0.6% at $2,356.69 per ounce, as of 0323 GMT, after hitting an all-time high of $2,431.29 on Friday. U.S. gold futures was steady at $2,373.30.

"Gold remains in vogue as a financial asset given the combination of geopolitical risks and the prospects of Fed interest rate easing in the second half of the year. In many respects, gold is taking on the appearance of being as 'asset for all occasions' given its ability to rally under varying market dynamics in 2024," said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst, KCM Trade.

Bullion rose above the $2,400 level in the previous session and has gained over 14% so far this year, fuelled by strong central bank buying, safe-haven inflows amid continued geopolitical risks.

Despite recent U.S. economic data showing strong labor market and high inflation, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Susan Collins is eyeing a couple of interest rate cuts this year.

Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding bullion.

"The $2500 is looking more like a viable near to medium-term target while momentum remains on the side of the precious metal (gold), which has been the story so far in 2024," Waterer said.

China's physical gold premiums rose last week, driven by strong demand to shore up a depreciating yuan, while record-high prices in India forced dealers to offer discounts for a sixth straight week.

Spot silver rose 1.2% to $28.18 per ounce, after touching its highest level since early 2021 on Friday.

Platinum fell 0.2% at $971.95 and palladium lost 0.6% to $1,042.95.

Reporting by Sherin Elizabeth Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

Source: Reuters

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