* Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,984.20 per ounce, as of 0025 GMT, its highest since March 14. U.S. gold futures edged up 0.8% to $1,990.20.
* Monday’s rise follows a second straight weekly gain for gold. Most markets were closed on Friday for a holiday.
* Ukrainian soldiers resisted a Russian ultimatum to lay down arms on Sunday in the pulverised port of Mariupol, which Moscow said its forces had almost completely seized in what would be its biggest prize of the nearly two-month war.
* Restraining advances in zero-yield gold, yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note firmed to their highest since December 2018.
* Bullion is considered a safe store of value during times of political and economic crisis, as well as a hedge against inflation.
* Meanwhile, China is expected to report a sharp deterioration in economic activity in March as COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns hit consumers and factories, although first-quarter growth may have perked up due to a strong start early in the year.
* U.S. stock investors worried geopolitical uncertainty and the Federal Reserve’s fight against inflation could dent economic growth are heading for defensive sectors they believe can better weather turbulent times and tend to offer strong dividends.
* Spot silver rose 0.5% to $25.80 per ounce, platinum gained 0.8% to $997.50, and palladium firmed 1.1% to $2,393.67.
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