The leading commodities have gained across the board during the U.S. morning session as risk-off sentiment dominates the global markets.
Gold futures (April 14 delivery) are up almost 1%, currently trading at 1,385.70. A further 1% rally would see the precious metal trading at its highest level since September 2013. Silver futures (May 14 delivery) are outpacing their gold equivalent, currently up 2.08% at 21.633.
The rise in the metals comes as tension heats up in Crimea, with the referendum as to the region’s sovereignty set for Sunday. Russian President Vladimir Putin has initiated the referendum, and has stated that if the majority of Crimean residents back a change then he would officially recognise the region as part of Russia. Ukraine’s interim President Oleksandr Turchynov has called for a boycott of the vote, and western leaders have publicly stated their opinion that the poll is illegal. The political, and perhaps military, unrest that the referendum could cause has led investors to reduce their exposure to the more risky assets and shift capital to safe havens such as gold.**relatedarticle**
The situation has also affected the price of crude oil futures (April 14 delivery), which are currently trading at 98.88, a 0.69% premium on Friday’s open. Russia is the world’s leading oil exporter, and investors fear that sanctions placed on the nation as “punishment” for the illegal referendum might constrict supply in the coming months.
Elsewhere, natural gas futures (April 14 delivery) are up 0.67% for the day, currently trading at 4.413. Friday’s gain sees the fuel recoup some of its Thursday losses, but the overarching sentiment that spring has arrived, and warm temperatures are just around the corner, will likely pare any recovery as the markets head into the weekly close.
Copper futures (May 14 delivery) are also up slightly, bucking the downtrend that disappointing Chinese data catalysed throughout the week. The industrial metal futures are currently trading at 2.946, a 0.8% premium to the day’s open.
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