Gold Futures Settle Higher On Inflation Worries, War Jitters

Gold prices climbed higher on Thursday as global stocks turned weak amid rising concerns about growth due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Demand for the safe-haven commodity rose as lingering concerns about the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict weighed on stocks on Wall Street, as peace talks between the countries resulted in little progress on key issues.

After speaking with his Russian counterpart, Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said no progress had been made on Ukraine's proposal for a 24-hour ceasefire or the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to and from the besieged city of Mariupol.

A strong dollar limited gold's uptick. The dollar index advanced to 98.51, gaining about 0.55%.

Gold futures for April ended higher by $12.20 or about 0.6% at $2,000.40 an ounce, after hitting a high of $2,015.10 an ounce.

Silver futures for May ended up by $0.440 at $26.256 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $4.6525 per pound, up $0.0800 from the previous close.

Rising concerns about inflation also contributed to increased demand for the yellow metal. The Labor Department showed a continued acceleration in the annual rate of U.S. consumer price growth in the month of February.

The report showed the annual rate of consumer price growth accelerated to 7.9% in February from 7.5% in January, reaching the highest rate since January 1982.

The annual rate of core consumer price growth accelerated to 6.4% in February from 6% in January, showing the fastest growth since August 1982.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims crept up to 227,000 in the week ended March 5th, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week's revised level of 216,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to tick up to 216,000 from the 215,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The European Central Bank today stuck to its earlier announcements to wind down monetary stimulus and charted out a policy normalization plan.

The ECB left its key interest rates unchanged. The main refinancing rate thus remains at zero, the deposit rate at -0.50% and the marginal lending rate at 0.25%.

The ECB policymakers revised the purchase schedule for its asset purchase program, or APP, for the coming months and now sees monthly net purchases to total EUR 40 billion in April, EUR 30 billion in May and EUR 20 billion in June.

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