22 May 2024

Geopolitical Tensions and Safe-Haven Assets: Exploring the Relationship Between Political Events and Gold Prices


In times of geopolitical tension, investors often seek refuge in assets considered safe havens. Among these, gold has historically been a popular choice. This precious metal is known for its ability to retain value during periods of economic and political instability. But what exactly drives this relationship between geopolitical events and gold prices? In this article, we will explore how political events influence gold prices and why gold remains a preferred safe-haven asset.

Understanding Safe-Haven Assets

Safe-haven assets are investments that are expected to retain or increase in value during times of market turbulence. Gold, due to its intrinsic value and limited supply, has been one of the most reliable safe-haven assets for centuries. Investors flock to gold during periods of uncertainty, driving up its price.

Geopolitical Tensions and Their Impact

Geopolitical events, such as wars, conflicts, and political unrest, can create significant economic uncertainty. This uncertainty can lead to volatile financial markets as investors react to potential risks. During such times, gold often sees increased demand as investors seek to hedge against potential losses in other assets.

Case Studies

  1. Middle East Conflicts: The ongoing conflicts in the Middle East have often led to spikes in gold prices. For example, during the 2011 Arab Spring, gold prices surged as investors reacted to the widespread political instability across the region. Similarly, the tensions in the Middle East in early 2020, particularly the US-Iran standoff, saw a sharp increase in gold prices as markets responded to fears of an escalating conflict.

  2. US-Iran Tensions: The escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran in early 2020 saw gold prices reach a seven-year high. Investors turned to gold amid fears of a potential military conflict and its repercussions on global stability. The killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani by a US drone strike heightened fears of retaliation and broader conflict, pushing investors towards safe-haven assets.

  3. Brexit: The uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations also had a notable impact on gold prices. During critical phases of the Brexit process, gold prices often moved higher as investors sought safety amid the political uncertainty in Europe. The protracted negotiations, multiple deadline extensions, and the potential for a no-deal Brexit all contributed to increased demand for gold.

  4. North Korea Tensions: The periodic escalation of tensions between North Korea and the international community, particularly the United States, has often led to spikes in gold prices. Missile tests and aggressive rhetoric from North Korean leaders have historically driven investors to seek the safety of gold.

Why Gold?

Several factors make gold a preferred safe-haven asset:

  1. Intrinsic Value: Unlike fiat currencies, gold has intrinsic value. It is a physical asset that cannot be printed or devalued by government policies, making it a stable store of value. This intrinsic value is recognized globally, providing a consistent hedge against currency depreciation and inflation.

  2. Global Acceptance: Gold is universally accepted and can be traded globally. This makes it a highly liquid asset, easily accessible to investors worldwide. Its widespread acceptance ensures that it can be quickly converted into cash or other assets in times of need.

  3. Limited Supply: The finite supply of gold ensures that it retains its value over time. Unlike paper currencies, which can be subject to inflationary pressures, gold’s supply is relatively stable. The processes involved in gold mining and refining add to its scarcity, supporting its long-term value.

  4. Historical Precedence: Historically, gold has performed well during times of crisis. Its track record of preserving value in turbulent times reinforces its status as a safe-haven asset. From the Great Depression to the financial crisis of 2008, gold has consistently provided stability and security for investors.

The Relationship Between Political Events and Gold Prices

The relationship between political events and gold prices is complex and multifaceted. When geopolitical tensions rise, several dynamics come into play:

  1. Market Sentiment: Investor sentiment often shifts towards risk aversion during geopolitical crises. This shift leads to increased demand for safe-haven assets like gold, driving up prices. Fear and uncertainty cause investors to seek protection for their portfolios, and gold’s reputation as a stable asset makes it a preferred choice.

  2. Currency Fluctuations: Political events can cause significant fluctuations in currency values. When major currencies weaken due to geopolitical instability, gold, priced in those currencies, becomes relatively more expensive. For example, during periods of US dollar weakness, gold prices typically rise as the metal becomes cheaper for investors holding other currencies.

  3. Economic Policies: Governments and central banks may implement economic policies in response to geopolitical events. These policies, such as interest rate cuts or increased government spending, can influence gold prices by affecting inflation expectations and overall economic stability. Central banks may also increase their gold reserves as a precautionary measure, further driving up demand.

  4. Supply Chain Disruptions: Geopolitical tensions can disrupt the global supply chain, affecting the production and distribution of goods, including gold. Mining operations may be hampered by political instability in gold-producing regions, leading to supply constraints and higher prices.


The intricate relationship between geopolitical tensions and gold prices highlights gold’s enduring role as a safe-haven asset. As political events continue to shape global markets, understanding this relationship can help investors make informed decisions. While no investment is entirely risk-free, gold’s historical performance and intrinsic qualities make it a valuable component of a diversified portfolio, especially during times of geopolitical uncertainty.

Disclaimer: Any information presented is for general education and informational purposes hence, not intended to be and does not constitute investment or trading advice or recommendation. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by M4Markets that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

It does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Any information relating to past performance of an investment does not necessarily guarantee future performance.

Harindale Limited does not give warranty as to the accuracy and completeness of this information.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 80% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

3 Steps to Start Trading
icon 1
Register & Verify your Profile
Complete our Registration Form, submit your KYC documents and complete your Economic Profile and Appropriateness Test to verify your profile.
icon 2
Open a Live Account & Fund It
Choose “Open Live Account” under the Accounts tab and select an account. Click “Deposit funds” under the funds tab to select your funding method.
icon 3
Download your Platform & get Started
Choose “Downloads” tab under Trader’s Menu and download your Preferred Platform. Launch your platform and start trading.