Gold Inches Higher As Putin Escalates War

Gold prices advanced on Wednesday, as investors monitored increased geopolitical tensions with Russia and braced for another hefty interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Spot gold rose half a percent to $1,673.74 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.6 percent at $1,681.85.

Geopolitical tensions returned to the fore after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the partial mobilization of his country's military in a significant escalation of war in Ukraine.

As the war in Ukraine reaches nearly seven months and Moscow loses ground on the battlefield, Putin said in a rare national address that Russia would use all the means at its disposal to protect its territory.

The Russian leader also backed plans for Russia to annex occupied areas of southern and eastern Ukraine, appearing to threaten nuclear retaliation if Kyiv continues its efforts to reclaim that land.

Investors also awaited the Federal Reserve's policy meeting later today, where a hefty rate hike is certain.

Markets will focus on the updated economic projections and dot plot estimates, which will be published along with the Fed's policy statement due out later in the day.

The Fed is widely expected to raise rates by 75 basis points, which will take the target range for the Fed Funds rate to 3.00 percent - 3.25 percent.

The monetary policy decisions from the Bank of Japan, Swiss National Bank and Bank of England are due on Thursday.

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