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Gold prices climbed 1% to their highest in a month on Wednesday after a deadly blast in Gaza fuelled fears about the regional conflict escalating, keeping the safe-haven asset in demand.

Spot gold rose 0.8% to $1,938.79 per ounce by 0248 GMT, after scaling its highest since Sept. 20 earlier in the session.

US gold futures also jumped 0.8% to $1,951.50. Hundreds were killed in a blast at a Gaza City hospital on Tuesday, according to Palestinian officials, igniting protests in the occupied West Bank and around the Middle East, ahead of a visit by US President Joe Biden to Israel.

“Safe-haven flows amid geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have remained the dominant catalyst for gold prices,” IG market strategist Yeap Jun Rong said.

“The risks of further escalation in the conflict may be supportive of prices for now, but the $1,945 level may prove to be a crucial resistance to overcome.”

Gold prices have surged over $100 since the conflict began, despite recent robust US economic data fuelling bets of higher-for-longer interest rates, which tend to lift the dollar and bond yields.

Gold, silver rates on 16-October-2023

Production at US factories and retail sales increased more than expected in September, suggesting the economy ended the third quarter on a strong note.

Investors await Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech on Thursday for cues on interest rates.

“The higher-for-longer (rates) narrative that has pinned down gold over the last couple of weeks appears to see tentative signs of fading as markets look to refreshed comments from Fed officials,” OCBC said in its monthly commodities outlook.

Bullion also got a boost after data showed top consumer China’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected clip in the third quarter from a year earlier.

Spot silver advanced 1% to $23.05, platinum rose 0.5% to $901.99 and palladium gained 0.2% to $1,145.30.

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