The prospect of Western military action against Syria hit emerging market assets hard, pushed oil to a six-month high and sent world shares sliding for a second day on Wednesday.
In the scramble for safety investors turned to gold, which hit a 3-1/2 month peak above $1,430 an ounce, and bought the dollar on a view that it was the ultimate refuge from the risks of intensified upheaval in the Middle East.
Emerging markets, such as Syria’s neighbor Turkey, already being pummeled by an expected reduction in U.S. stimulus measures, took further hits. The Turkish lira and India’s rupee both touched record lows against the dollar.
The moves stem from signs the United States and its allies are gearing up for a strike against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, blamed for last week’s chemical weapons attacks, which traders fear could prompt retaliatory action, engulfing a region which supplies a third of the world’s oil.
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