Gold & Silver

Palladium breaks $1,500 level on supply woes

Reuters February 20 | Updated on February 20, 2019 Published on February 20, 2019

Palladium up 19 pct this year, among best performing metals.   -  istock.com

Gold hits 10-month high

Palladium prices broke above $1,500 for the first time on Wednesday due to a prolonged supply deficit, while gold rose to a fresh 10-month high as the dollar struggled ahead of the US Federal Reserve's policy meeting minutes.

Palladium is crucial in the making of catalytic converters used in exhaust systems of vehicles, and an improvement in demand from the auto sector has supported the metal's surge. “Demand (for palladium) is increasing year by year because of catalyst demand for gasoline engines. Environmental requirements are getting stronger, which means more palladium is needed in (manufacturing) a car,” said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager at ICBC Standard Bank.

Furthermore, the supply deficit is likely to widen this year as stricter emissions standards increase demand for catalytic converters, Britain-based autocatalyst manufacturer Johnson Matthey said last week.

Spot palladium rose to an all-time high of $1,500.50 per ounce and was 0.7 per cent higher at $1,490 as of 0800 GMT. The autocatalyst metal has gained almost 19 per cent so far this year, making it one of the best performing metals. Gold prices hit their highest since April 19, 2018 as the dollar was capped on falling US Treasury yields and optimism surrounding trade talks between the United States and China.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that trade talks with China were going well and suggested he was open to pushing off the March 1 deadline to complete negotiations. Most investors expect uncertainties over US-China trade talks to end this week, which will weaken the dollar and support gold, said Hareesh V, head of commodity research at Geojit Financial Services.

Progress in trade discussions between the world's top two economies has whisked off the safe-haven appeal for the dollar, making gold more attractive to investors.

Spot gold was up 0.1 per cent at $1,342.46 per ounce after rising to a high of $1,346.73 earlier in the session. US gold futures were steady at $1,345.40. Investors are now looking ahead to the release of US Federal Open Market Committee's minutes from its January 29-30 policy meeting at 1900 GMT.

“The dovish shift in US Federal Reserve language over the year-to-date has improved the fundamental outlook for gold prices,” Fitch Solutions said in a note. “A less steep trajectory for US rate hikes bolsters our existing view that US dollar gains are behind us and that this will help put a oor under gold prices.”

Spot gold may peak around a resistance at $1,351 per ounce, as suggested by a projection analysis and a rising trendline, according to Reuters market analyst Wang Tao. Among other precious metals, platinum was down 0.2 per cent at $815.63 per ounce, while spot silver was up 0.2 per cent at $16.01.

Published on February 20, 2019
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