Gold prices settled higher for the first time in a week as tensions between Russia and Ukraine give the precious metal some support.
Russia warned Wednesday that it would mount a firm response if its citizens or interests come under attack in Ukraine. Separately, Dutch, British and Danish fighter jets scrambled Wednesday afternoon after a pair of Russian bombers approached their airspace over the North Sea.
“The situation is looking dicey,” said Phil Streible, senior commodity broker at RJ O’Brien & Associates in Chicago.
Traders said that the news was drawing money into gold, which is often used as a refuge during bouts of turbulence. Gold for June delivery rose $3.50 to settle at $1,284.60 an ounce.
The last time gold ended the trading day higher was April 16, when it settled at $1,303.50 an ounce. The next day, Ukraine and Russia agreed on tentative steps to calm unrest along their shared border. But pro-Russian forces have yet to leave the government buildings they occupy in cities throughout eastern Ukraine.
Other metals also settled with slight gains. Platinum for July increased $3.60 to $1,403.90 an ounce, and palladium for June rose $2.35 to $786.00 an ounce. Silver for May delivery rose 8 cents to $19.438 an ounce.
Trading in agricultural contracts was mixed. Wheat rose 3 cents to $6.83 a bushel and corn rose 8 cents to $5.10 a bushel.
Soybeans slipped six cents to $14.65 a bushel.
In the market for oil and gas, crude oil dipped 31 cents to settle at $101.44 a barrel.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
- Wholesale gasoline for June was flat at $3.04 a gallon.
- June heating oil lost 2 cents to $2.98 a gallon.
- Natural gas for May lost a penny $4.73 per thousand cubic feet.