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Gold prices were poised for a third consecutive weekly gain on Friday as the Middle East conflict kept investors drawn towards safety of bullion despite a higher-for-longer US interest rate backdrop. Spot gold edged 0.1% higher to $1,986.76 per ounce by 0341 GMT.

US gold futures were steady at $1,996.80.

“Gold prices will be a function of the Israel-Hamas conflict for as long as things are at risk of escalating,” said Kyle Rodda, financial market analyst at Capital.com.

Israeli forces executed their biggest ground attack in Gaza in their war with Hamas overnight as anger grew in the Arab world over Israel’s unrelenting airstrikes on the besieged Palestinian territory. Gold has gained about 9% as investors sought refuge from the potential fallout of the Israel-Hamas war that escalated earlier this month.

But the lingering prospects of higher US interest rates have kept prices below the $2,000 ceiling last breached in May. “Gold is holding where it is because of geopolitical risks, with prices diverging from the typical fundamental drivers … if it were a factor of real yields and the dollar, gold would be lower,” Rodda added.

Gold extends decline

The dollar was set for a weekly gain on Friday, while US Treasury yields edged 0.2% higher after data showed the US economy surged at the fastest growth pace in nearly two years in the third quarter.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said US third-quarter economic growth of nearly 5% was a good sign that the economy was headed for a soft landing, but could help keep longer-dated bond yields elevated.

Investor focus is also on the US personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price index due later in the day for cues on what to expect from the US Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week.

In other metals, spot silver steadied at $22.84 per ounce, platinum rose 0.5% to $904.71 and palladium added 0.2% to $1,135.65.

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