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Thanks for joining me. Gold jumped to fresh record highs after Iran’s president was killed in a helicopter crash.

Bullion jumped as much as 1.1pc to hit $2,440.59 an ounce after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and all the other passengers onboard died when the aircraft came down in northwest Iran.

His death has added to tensions in the Middle East, which analysts said increases the appeal of the metal, which is considered a safe haven in times of turmoil.

However, in a sign that markets were less concerned about the threat of instability, the price of oil remained relatively steady at $84 a barrel.

Nicholas Frappell, global head of institutional markets at ABC Refinery in Sydney, said: “Gold’s rally is news-driven with uncertainty about what happened in Iran. 

“There is bound to be an element of jumping to conclusions on the basis of very little information.”

The rise in gold also comes amid optimism that the US Federal Reserve will make two interest rate cuts this year after inflation figures last week were lower than expected.

That offered support for the precious metal, which is priced in the dollar. 

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What happened overnight 

Asian stocks advanced after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 40,000 for the first time on Friday.

Gold hit a record high and oil prices edged higher as investors focused on the Middle East, where a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other officials crashed in the mountainous northwest reaches of Iran overnight.

China’s market extended last week’s gains after the central bank announced new support for the property industry, including cutting required down payments for housing loans, cutting mortgage interest rates for first and second home purchases and removing a mortgage rate floor.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.5pc to 19,648.19, with its property index up 0.6pc by midday. The Shanghai Composite index advanced 0.3pc to 3,162.08.

China’s central bank left the one- and five-year loan prime rate unchanged at 3.45pc and 3.95pc, in line with expectations. 

The one-year LPR serves as the benchmark for most new and outstanding loans in China, while the five-year rate affects the pricing of property mortgages.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index surged 1.4pc to 39,346.92. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6pc to 7,862.70. The Kospi in Korea rose 0.6pc to 2,741.55.

Elsewhere, Taiwan’s Taiex edged 0.1pc higher after Lai Ching-te was inaugurated as Taiwan’s new president. Lai is expected to uphold the island’s de facto independence policy from China and seek to bolster its defenses against Beijing, which claims the island as Chinese territory.

In Bangkok, the SET was up 0.3pc.

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