Iran’s aerial attack on US military bases in Iraq on Wednesday encouraged another jump in gold, that lustrous haven of value. The US still has about 5,000 troops there and 10 times that number based in the Middle East. So far this month, the glittery stuff has jumped 4%. Not bad considering that in 2018 gold rose 18%, the most since 2010. Military aggression in a key oil-producing region worries equity market investors, driving them into safer alternatives.

A decade-long bull market is testing nerves, encouraging interest in hedging. Central bankers, particularly in Russia and China, appreciate gold’s lack of correlation with other asset classes. These emerging market bankers, whether out of concern about the US dollar or rejection of its primary status, are reluctant to buy more dollars with spare foreign-exchange reserves. At 34,500 tons, central bank holdings, in decline throughout the noughties, are at two-decade highs. These steady, sticky central bank purchases bolster t...

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