Gold started the week cresting toward $1,600, up more than $25 since the previous Friday, when the United States killed Iran General Qasem Soleimani via a strategic drone airstrike. Yesterday, Iran unleashed missiles upon Al Asad Air Base and a base in Erbil, both in Iraq, as retaliation for the killing of the Iranian general. Fears mounted that the United States would follow up on the Iranian strikes against the U.S.-occupied base in Iraq with a hail of missiles against major cultural sites in Iran.
However, United States President Donald Trump says there were no casualties in the base attacks and that Iran "appears to be standing down." Still, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared the damage his nation inflicted upon the U.S. bases are a "slap in the face" to the U.S. and insufficient retribution for the U.S. killing of General Soleimani.
The momentary and apparent easing of tensions helped to significantly lower gold prices this morning, from about $1,595 after midnight Eastern Standard Time down to around $1,555 by noon. Prices may decline further still, but there's that lingering and ominous implication by the Ayatollah that he and his nation may still exact further actions against the United States and its interests. If so, that could put pressure on gold prices, sending them back up -- and quickly.