Spot gold slipped on Thursday as investors continued to asses the crisis in Ukraine, after Russian forces attacked the country on the orders of President Vladimir Putin.
Gold last traded at $1,897.76 per troy ounce, down 0.5% on the previous day. Earlier in the morning the precious metal was trading at $1,968.01 per ounce, up 3.17% and the highest since late 2020, as investors piled into safe-haven assets and equity markets globally tumbled into the red. Oil and soft commodity prices were sharply higher. Brent crude surpassed $100 for the first time since 2014.
Russia is a top producer of palladium and platinum, and the world's third-largest producer of gold.
President Joe Biden said in an afternoon press conference that the U.S. will introduce another wave of sanctions against Russia that would limit its ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen, in an effort to isolate Moscow from the global economy.
The price of gold is up about 5.5% in February thus far, on course for its biggest monthly gain since July 2020. U.S. bond yields, which move inversely to prices, plunged as investors poured money into treasuries, also seen as safe assets.
Putin declared what he called a "special military operation" early Thursday morning, just two days after sending troops into Ukraine's eastern breakaway regions in Donetsk and Luhansk. The latest news follows months of Russian military buildup near Ukraine's borders with troop numbers counting as many as 150,000.
The situation in Ukraine is rapidly deteriorating, and specific reports from the country are difficult to confirm. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reported just after 7 a.m. local time that multiple cities in the country of 44 million are under Russian attack, and has called on the international community to act decisively to isolate Russia.
In a tweet, Kuleba called for "devastating sanctions on Russia NOW, including SWIFT," among other punitive measures. NATO leaders have vowed a swift response, including what they have called "severe" sanctions, as some warn that Putin's invasion could result in the largest conflict in Europe since World War II.