Gold and silver futures jumped the most in a week as escalating havoc in Eastern Europe and the Middle East boosted demand for haven assets.
Ukraine and Russia traded accusations of cross-border shelling as tensions between the ex-Soviet neighbors intensified. Gaza Strip violence expanded after dozens of Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers died in the conflict’s bloodiest single day.
Gold has climbed 8.6 percent this year. Fighting this month in Gaza has killed more than 800 Palestinians and 35 Israelis, roiling a region in upheaval from Iraq to Yemen. Russian President Vladimir Putin is facing more pressure to expedite the investigation into the crash of a Malaysian passenger jet on July 17 in Ukraine.
“When you see schools shelled in Gaza and heavy artillery fire from Russia and Ukraine, people are very nervous, and you can’t blame them,” Peter Thomas, a senior vice president at Zaner Group LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “As we go into the weekend, with the amount of turmoil that we have, people are going to buy gold.”
Gold futures for December delivery rose 1 percent to settle at $1,305.30 an ounce at 1:36 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since July 17. The metal yesterday touched $1,289.40, the lowest since June 19.
This week, gold fell 0.4 percent, the second straight decline, partly on gains in the U.S. and Chinese economies.
In 2013, the metal tumbled 28 percent, the most in three decades, after equities rallied to a record and the Federal Reserve pared U.S. monetary stimulus as the economy showed signs of improvement.
Silver futures for September delivery rose 1.1 percent to $20.636 an ounce on the Comex, the largest advance since July 17.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for September delivery advanced 1 percent to $879.80 an ounce, the biggest gain since July 1. The price dropped in the previous five sessions, the longest slump since Feb. 4. Russia is the top producer of the metal used mostly in pollution-control devices in vehicles.
Platinum futures for October delivery rose 0.3 percent to $1,478.60 an ounce.