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Gold advanced to an eight-month high above $1 900/oz as the prolonged standoff over Ukraine stoked demand for havens.

The US ramped up warnings of a possible Russian attack, with President Joe Biden saying a “false-flag” event may be under way. Moscow said no invasion was planned, but given proposed US security assurances were unsatisfactory, Russia might have to resort to “military-technical measures.”

Gold has made a strong start to the year, surging to the highest since June, as the possibility of a conflict in Europe buoyed prices. The commodity is set for a third weekly gain even as the US Federal Reserve is preparing to raise rates, which could damp demand for the non-interest bearing precious metal.

“Expect gold to remain quite volatile,” said John Feeneybusiness development manager at Sydney-based bullion dealer Guardian Gold Australia. “We could still see gold add a significant amount on official news of an invasion,” Feeney said, adding that there could be a drop of $50 or more if the situation calmed.ADVERTISEMENT

Citigroup Inc. analysts including Aakash Doshi upgraded their near-term gold forecast to $1,950 from $1 825, citing geopolitical tensions. Further out, the bank remains bearish, with a target of $1 750 over six to 12 months as “higher real yields and stronger equities can weigh on bullion prices again.”

Spot gold rose as much as 0.2% to $1  02.48 an ounce, the highest since June 11, and traded at $1 901.13 at 8:39 a.m. in Singapore. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat. Silver and palladium were steady, while platinum rose.