MTECHTIPS:-Gold prices dip in Asia as Western sanctions on Russia seen mild
Gold prices dipped in Asia on Tuesday as the impact of Western sanctions on Russia over the annexation of the Crimean region of the Ukraine were seen as mild and a sign that tensions would remain in check. Gold has served as a safe haven of choice during the Ukraine crisis. On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery traded at $1,361.00 a troy ounce, down 0.87%, after hitting an overnight session low of $1,362.50 and off a high of $1,392.50. Investors continued to monitor events in Europe, after more than 90% of Crimean voters on Sunday chose to break with Ukraine and join Russia. Crimea's Parliament on Monday formally asked to join the Russian Federation. Sanctions followed as expected. European Union foreign ministers imposed travel bans and asset freezes on 21 people they have linked to the push to have Crimea secede from Ukraine and be annexed by Russia. U.S. President Barack Obama also imposed sanctions on several Russian officials involved in the incursion of Crimea, which included freezing assets in the U.S. Still, markets were expecting more widespread action from the West, and the response enticed investors away from safe-haven gold positions. Investors also took hit-or-miss U.S. economic indicators in stride. Data revealed earlier that U.S. industrial production rose 0.6% in February, exceeding expectations for a 0.1% gain. Industrial production in January was revised to a 0.2% fall from a previously estimated 0.3% decline.