Precious Metals Posting Strong '14 Performance

Gold and silver prices have logged solid gains this year, helped by concerns over the crisis in Eastern Europe and slowing economic growth in China.

Tensions continued to build in Ukraine this week as negotiations appear to be at a standstill and European Union governments are considering sanctions against Russia.

Also leading investors to opt for safe-haven assets rather than equities was weaker-than-expected Chinese export data for February. Over the weekend, China said exports plunged 18.1%, compared to expectations they would jump more than 7%, leading to a broad selloff in Asian markets earlier this week.

Gold futures settled Tuesday at $1346.50 a troy ounce, up 12% year-to-date after falling 28% last year. Traders said the metal could make a run for $1,390 if it can close above $1,350 -- a key technical level.

“Once we get a close above $1,350 in the April gold contract, we should head up to at least $1,390,” said Lannie Cohen, a commodities broker at Capitol Commodity Services, Inc.

The last time the precious metal closed above $1,350 was on March 3, at $1,350.50 and before that it was October 30, 2013, at $1,349.30.

Silver prices, which often move in the same direction as gold, are up 7.5% year-to-date, settling Tuesday at $20.78 a troy ounce.