Platinum jumps as fighting resumes in Ukraine

Associated Press |

Platinum and palladium prices surged Tuesday after Ukraine's president abandoned a cease-fire with pro-Russian separatists.

Platinum for October delivery jumped $32.10, or 2.2 percent, to settle at $1,515.00 an ounce. That's the highest price since last September, according to FactSet. Palladium for September rose $11.45, or 1.4 percent, to $854.60 an ounce.

Ukrainian troops and the separatists fought an hours-long gunbattle in the largest city in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday. The fighting renewed concerns that Russia's exports of the metal could be disrupted. The European Union has threatened to impose a third round of sanctions against Moscow unless Russia uses its influence to end the violence. Russia is the world's largest producer of palladium and the second-largest producer of platinum.

"The other major source for the two metals is South Africa, and they just came off a strike," said Phil Streible, senior commodity broker at RJ O'Brien & Associates in Chicago.

That five-month strike, which ended last month, pinched world supplies of the two industrial metals.

In other trading on Tuesday, gold for August delivery rose $4.60 to $1,326.60 an ounce, while silver for September rose 6 cents to $21.12 an ounce. Copper for September was unchanged at $3.20 a pound.

Wheat fell 5 cents to $5.73 a bushel. Corn fell 3 cents to $4.23 a bushel, while soybeans slipped 10 cents to $11.48 a bushel.

In the market for oil and gas contracts, crude oil for August delivery slipped 3 cents to $105.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell a penny to $3.04 a gallon.

— Heating oil was unchanged at $2.98 a gallon.

— Natural gas was unchanged $4.46 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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