* Gold posts largest one-day pct gain in a month
* US crude up 2 pct on stockpile drop, Russia tensions
* Palladium at 13-1/2 year highs, wheat up 2.5 pct
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, July 17 Gold prices jumped their most
in a month on Thursday on geopolitical worries after a Malaysian
jetliner crashed in eastern Ukraine, while other key commodities
rose, too, on an improved demand outlook versus supply.
U.S. crude oil jumped 2 percent and Brent crude neared a
one-week high after a sharp drop in U.S. oil stockpiles in the
world's top oil consumer. Tougher U.S. sanctions on Russia also
pushed oil and platinum prices higher.
U.S. wheat futures surged nearly 3 percent, rallying from a
four-year low, on fears of escalating tensions in the Black Sea
region after the crash on Thursday of a Malaysian airplane,
which was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The jet
crashed in a field in eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people on
A Ukrainian interior ministry official told Interfax that
pro-Russian militants had shot down the plane.
While some raw materials such as copper, natural gas
and raw sugar saw price drops on weaker demand,
the rally in the others appeared to shore up investor sentiment
toward commodities after a recent selloff in gold and oil.
The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB Index
climbed 0.3 percent, on track to a second positive day
and rebounding from a five-month low earlier this week.
"The environment for macro investors is still extremely
fraught with geopopolitical tensions and commodities that
provide an insurance against that sort of risk - i.e. oil and
gold - come into play when the fear factor goes up," said Adam
Sarhan of New York-based financial advisory Sarhan Capital.
Gold's spot price was at $1,317.91 an ounce, up 1.4
percent, for its largest percentage gain in a month, as
investors closely monitored reports of the Malaysian airline
"When the (plane crash) news came out, it was frantic buying
and short covering in the (gold) market," said Phillip Streible,
senior commodities broker at RJ O'Brien in Chicago.
U.S. crude rose $1.90, or 2 percent, to $103.10 per
barrel. Brent gained 0.6 percent to $107.80.
European gas and coal prices also jumped.
Platinum group metals (PGMs) also trended higher among
precious metals after Washington's move to impose sanctions on
some of Russia's biggest firms for failure to curb violence in
Ukraine. PGMs are chiefly sourced from Russia.
Spot palladium hit a 13-1/2 year high at $887.90 an
ounce and was last up 1.1 percent at $881.20. It's the best
performing precious metals for the year, up 24 percent so far.
Spot platinum was also up 1.1 percent at $1,495.60.
In wheat, the front-month September contract was up
2.5 percent at above $5.50 per bushel, rallying from a session
low of $5.30-3/4 before news of the plane crash.
Ukraine and Russia are both major global wheat suppliers.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)