Gold soars to near seven-year high as Middle East tensions flare – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – January 7, 2019)

Gold traded near a seven-year high on Monday as investors sought a traditional safe-haven investment amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran.

Gold futures traded as high as US$1,580 an ounce on Monday, the highest level since April, 2013, before closing at US$1,568.60. They are up US$45 an ounce already this year.

Prices have climbed almost 3 per cent since a U.S. drone strike killed General Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force, an elite military and intelligence unit responsible for foreign operations, in Bagdhad on Friday. Gen. Soleimani was seen as the chief architect of Iran’s increasing military presence in the Middle East, and a growing threat to U.S. security.

Iran has vowed to strike back. In response to the threat of retaliation, U.S. President Donald Trump said he is prepared to attack a number of Iranian targets, including cultural sites.

Historically, investors have sought out bullion as a refuge in times of heightened global uncertainty. “There will be another response in the next week or two, when Iran fires upon a U.S. vessel of some sort, or attacks a Saudi oil facility.

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