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Gold advances as risk-aversion creeps in

H.S. Borji
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Gold advances as risk-aversion creeps in

Gold prices advanced Monday, as escalating tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East boosted safe-haven bids.

Gold futures advanced $3.90 to $1,315.40 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold prices advanced more than 1.3 percent on Thursday.

Gold wasn’t the only precious metal to increase Monday. Silver for September delivery advanced ten cents to $20.99 an ounce.

Copper prices advanced $1.25 to $319.70 a pound.

Platinum increased $2.38 to $1,491.63 an ounce.

Energy commodities also advanced Monday. West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery advanced 88 cents to $104.01 a barrel.

Brent, the global benchmark, edged up 13 cents to $107.37 a barrel.

Global investors are resorting to precious metals in anticipation of further turmoil in the Ukraine after a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot down last Thursday, killing all 298 people on board.

The United States and its Western allies have accused Russian-backed rebels of shooting down the passenger jet, which crashed one day after the US announced another round of sanctions against Russia for supporting Crimean independence.

According to the United States and its European allies, Russia has equipped separatists with sophisticated weapons that were eventually used to down the passenger jet.

Russia has denied any involvement in the Malaysia Airlines disaster and said it was not involved in arming rebel groups.

Elsewhere, the death toll in the Gaza Strip topped 500 Monday as Israeli forces expanded their ground offensive in the heavily populated Palestinian territory. The violence has intensified despite increased international efforts to reach a cease fire.

Hamas, meanwhile, managed to fire 50 more rockets at Israel, causing no injuries. A total of 20 Israelis have been killed in the two-week battle.

Israel accepted an Egypt-backed call for a cease-fire last week but resumed its campaign after Hamas rejected the proposal. Hamas said it would not accept a cease-fire until Israel and Egypt ease a seven-year blockade of Gaza.

Sunday was the single deadliest day in the two-week conflict, resulting in the death of more than 100 Palestinians, according to health officials in Gaza.

So far, the fighting hasn’t spread to other regions of the Middle East.

Meanwhile, fresh waves of violence spread through Iraq in the early part of the week, as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) continued to sweep through the country.

Eleven civilians were killed and 31 were wounded in mortar attacks on the mixed Shi’a-Sunni town of Mahmoudiya Sunday night.

Two soldiers and three volunteers were killed in a Baghdad suburb after a roadside bomb struck an army patrol.

ISIS, which seized control of the city of Fallujah in January, launched a massive offensive last month, securing large swaths of northern and western Iraq.

A total of 5,576 civilians were killed and another 11,665 wounded in the first six months of the year, according to the US mission in Iraq. Another 1.2 million have been forced to flee their homes.

A total of 7,800 civilians were killed last year, according to the United Nations.

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