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NS: Oil and gold prices rise following US airstrikes in Syria
The US attacks on a Syrian airbase are clearly very dramatic developments in the diplomatic arena – but markets have taken the attack relatively calmly so far.

The main reaction was initially seen in the price of oil, which jumped to a one-month high in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, climbing by just over $1 a barrel to $56.08.

The price of Brent crude has since given up some of those early gains as the attack will not change the demand and supply dynamics of the oil price.

:: Trump launches missile strikes in Syria in response to chemical attack

Syria produces very little oil of its own and so any increase in the price is largely being regarded as speculative.

It is certainly possible that conflict in the country might now have increased potential to escalate elsewhere in the region given that Iran, a major oil producer, is a key strategic ally of Syria.

However, of itself, the overnight attack will have no impact at all on the overall demand and supply picture - which is one of growing demand around the world, as a result of reviving economic growth being more or less matched by increases in supply from US shale producers in spite of attempts by the Opec cartel of oil-producing nations to dampen down any supply glut.

Other market reaction to the overnight attack has seen an expected move by some investors into traditional safe havens.

The price of gold, for example, rose by 1% to hit $1,263.53 an ounce early this morning, a level last seen in November, shortly after the election of Donald Trump.

:: Syria strikes: Five things you need to know

Gold looks set to complete a run of four consecutive weekly gains this week. Other safe havens in demand include US Treasuries and German bunds.

The yield on both instruments, which falls as the price rises, dropped - in the case of 10-year US government IOUs to their lowest level in four months.

Similarly, on the currency markets, the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc have been sought after.

On the downside, the Russian rouble fell by around 1% against the US dollar, while the Turkish lira, which has frequently reacted to tensions in its southern neighbour, was down by 0.3% against the greenback.

On stock markets in the major economies, the reaction has also been muted. In the UK, the FTSE-100 has drifted very slightly lower, putting it in line for a third straight week of losses.

That would be its worst performance since the three weeks leading to last year's EU referendum but, again, is being seen in some quarters not as a reaction to the overnight attacks but to a bit of profit-taking after the Footsie's strong start to 2017.

Among notable gainers, unsurprisingly, is the gold producer Randgold Resources.

:: Sky Data poll: Just over half of Britons would back UK military action in Syria

Among other stock markets, the Nikkei in Toyko briefly hit its lowest level since December, before finishing up 0.4%.

In Europe, the CAC in France and the DAX in Germany are both trading moderately lower, although in both cases the focus for investors continues to be the elections later this year.

However, the Russian stock market has fallen by just under 3%, although - as with the fall in the rouble - this is being attributed to comments made on Thursday from Russia's finance minister, Maxim Oreshkin, about the outlook for the rouble this year, as much as on any geopolitical factors.

The Russian currency has been trading at a 21-month high against the US dollar this week and the Kremlin is anxious that it does not become too strong.

In general, stock markets have reacted relatively calmly, with most investors seemingly reassured by suggestions that the overnight strikes are a 'one-off' attack rather than signalling a prolonged assault on Syria.

The focus later in the day is expected to shift towards the overall US economic outlook, with the publication of the US non-farm payrolls, the single most important piece of economic data globally to appear monthly.