LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - European gas and coal prices jumped on Thursday after a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crashed over eastern Ukraine, as traders feared a sharper deterioration of relations with major energy producer Russia.
“The whole energy complex just went. There’s a general fear of a massive escalation,” said one trader.
Wholesale gas prices in Britain, Europe’s largest market, leapt nearly five percent.
Gas for delivery on Friday and this coming winter both closed 4.9 percent higher to 38.70 and 59.50 pence per therm respectively.
“The market may be speculating on an escalation of Ukrainian-Russian tensions,” said Paolo Coghe, an energy analyst with French investment bank Societe Generale.
A Malaysian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian militants on Thursday, killing all 295 people aboard, a Ukrainian interior ministry official said.
Raising the stakes in the East-West showdown between Kiev and Moscow, the official blamed “terrorists” using a ground-to-air missile, while Ukraine separatist leader Aleksander Borodai blamed Ukrainian government forces.
Russia is the biggest oil, gas, uranium and coal importer to the EU, according to the European Commission.
European coal for delivery in the fourth quarter gained 50 cents to close at 75.25/tonne. Carbon prices surged to a four-month high of 6.24 euros/tonne after news of the crash broke.
On electricity markets, German calendar 2015 baseload power ended up 1.2 percent at a session high of 35.05 euros/megawatt-hour. (Reporting by Michael Szabo; additional reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by William Hardy)