Gold prices held steady on Tuesday as U.S. Treasury yields hit multi-year highs following an aggressive inflation stance by the Federal Reserve chairman, while an intensifying conflict between Russia and Ukraine supported bids for the safe-haven metal.

Spot gold was flat at $1,936.03 per ounce by 0605 GMT. U.S. gold futures were up 0.5% to $1,938.80.

"There are no new inputs to materially move the price in Asia today, leaving gold stuck between higher U.S. yields and a ramp-up in risk-aversion sentiment," said OANDA senior analyst Jeffrey Halley.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that the U.S. central bank would raise interest rates by bigger-than-usual amounts if necessary to bring down inflation that was running "much too high."

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note jumped above 2.3% for the first time since May 2019, while a closely watched gap between rates for two- and 10-year Treasury notes flattened further, a potential sign of an economic downturn. [US/]

Sharp moves in the U.S. Treasury market are increasingly pointing to the risk of an approaching recession, with markets doubting the Fed's plan to engineer a "soft landing" for the economy as it hikes interest rates to fight inflation, market experts said.

Higher yields and interest rates tend to increase the opportunity cost of holding non-interest paying gold.

Slowing gold's slide was Ukraine's remark on Monday that it would not obey ultimatums from Russia after Moscow demanded it stop defending besieged Mariupol.

"Ukraine (conflict) is likely to go on and increase supply-chain tensions and inflation pressures, supporting gold," said Nicholas Frappell, a global general manager at ABC Bullion.

Palladium, used by automakers in catalytic converters to curb emissions, fell 0.4% to $2,574.04 per ounce.

Spot silver gained 0.5% to $25.33 per ounce and platinum rose 0.2% to $1,039.46.