Gold prices rose on Monday to their highest since mid-March, as the uncertainty surrounding the Russia-Ukraine conflict dampened risk sentiment and drove investors towards the safety of bullion.

Spot gold was up 0.8% at $1,989.65 per ounce, as of 0723 GMT, hitting its highest since March 11. U.S. gold futures were up 0.9% at $1,993.40. Seems like there is a bit of risk aversion in the market, with some overhang from the Russia-Ukraine situation, said Ilya Spivak, a currency strategist at DailyFX, while cautioning thin liquidity could possibly exaggerate price action. Ukrainian authorities said missiles struck Lviv early on Monday and explosions rocked other cities as Russian forces kept up their bombardments after claiming near full control of the strategic southern port of Mariupol.

Bullion is considered a safe store of value during times of political and economic crisis. While another test of $2,000 is likely the path of least resistance for gold, $2,100 is the bigger, more potent figure to keep an eye on, as there are some meaningful peaks there that would need to be overcome to make the case for lasting gains, Spivak said. Restraining advances in zero-yield gold on Monday, yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note firmed to their highest since December 2018.

Spot gold may rise into a range of $1,998 to $2,012, as it has pierced above a resistance at $1,984 per ounce, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

China's economy slowed in March as consumption, real estate and exports were hit hard, taking the shine off faster-than-expected first-quarter growth numbers and worsening an outlook already weakened by COVID-19 curbs and the Ukraine war. Spot silver rose 0.7% to $25.85 per ounce, platinum gained 1.7% to $1,006.27, and palladium climbed 1.4% to $2,400.60.

(Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)