Israel intercepts Iran drone attacks and weighs response, Gaza crisis continues



An anti-missile system operates as seen from Ashkelon, Israel, on Saturday. Amir Cohen/Reuters

Gold prices rose while Asian stocks mostly fell on Monday, as rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East spurred demand for safe-haven investments after Iran launched an unprecedented attack on Israel over the weekend.

Oil prices had settled higher on Friday in anticipation of retaliatory action from Iran, hitting their highest levels since October.

They retreated slightly during Asian trading hours on Monday, as traders curtailed the geopolitical risk premium after the attack caused only minor damage, according to Israeli military officials.

“Heightened tensions in the Middle East amid a worsening geopolitical backdrop kept commodity markets on edge,” analysts from ANZ said in a research report on Monday.

Iran’s attack is likely to raise concerns of a possible disruption to oil supply, they said. “The extent of that risk will likely be determined by the reaction of Israel’s government.”

Before Iran’s attack, US stocks ended Friday sharply lower, as Wall Street worried about escalating tension in the Middle East.

US futures are cautiously higher after US President Joe Biden and his national security team, seeking to contain the risk of a wider regional war, told their counterparts the US will not participate in any counter-strike against Iran.

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