Gold price surges to 9-month high on ECB moves

The price of gold is at a nine-month high after the head of the European Central Bank suggested that its bond-buying program could benefit Spain.

Gold for December delivery rose $16.70 Thursday to finish at $1,796.50 per ounce, the highest level since late February. Several analysts expect gold to continue to post gains.

Investors often buy gold as a hedge against inflation. The price has risen about 6.5 percent since the start of September, shortly before the ECB and the Federal Reserve unveiled new programs aimed at improving economic growth.

ECB President Mario Draghi said Spain has made progress toward controlling its finances in a short period of time. He also said that the ECB could help control high debt costs for financially strapped countries, but it's up to individual countries to request help. The ECB left its key interest rate for the 17 countries that use the euro at 0.75 percent.

Spain's leaders have delayed a request for emergency bailout money because of concerns that the government may be required to comply with harsh austerity conditions in exchange for the money.

Most commodities ended higher in part because of a weaker dollar. Since commodities are priced in dollars, a weaker dollar makes them more of a bargain for traders who use other currencies.

In December contracts, silver rose 41.1 cents to finish at $35.101 per ounce and palladium gained $16.85 to $674.75 per ounce. January platinum increased $31 to $1,725.10 per ounce. December copper was essentially flat at $3.786 per pound.

In other trading, the price of oil surged 4.1 percent after Turkey's military fired on targets in Syria for the second day.

Benchmark oil rose $3.57 to end at $91.71 per barrel, heating oil rose 12.2 cents to $3.1884 per gallon and natural gas rose 1.1 cents to $3.406 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline jumped 14.34 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $2.9429 per gallon.

In agricultural crop contracts, December wheat fell 3.75 cents to $8.6925 per bushel, December corn rose 0.25 cent to $7.57 per bushel and November soybeans gained 19.75 cents to $15.515 per bushel.