Platinum hits 4-month peak, palladium rockets to 16-month high
The platinum price hit a four-month high on Monday, adding $10 to $1,709 an ounce in New York while sister metal palladium added more than 1% to $766 an ounce.
Platinum is up over 10.6% so far this year and palladium has added 9% in value in 2013 and is now trading at the highest since September 2011.
The latest jump came after reports of a surge in automobile sales in the US.
Platinum and palladium are used in catalytic converters in cars and trucks to reduce emissions.
What is really driving the PGM market however is supply; which unlike other precious metals is highly concentrated.
South Africa produces more than 75% of the global supply, while most of the remainder comes from Russia.
The South African platinum industry has been lurching from crisis to crisis since a massacre in August last year on a platinum mine owned by Lonmin.
Strikes and rocketing costs recently forced no. 1 platinum miner Amplats to announce massive layoffs and closure of mines.
Russia holds a stockpile of palladium which it feeds into or withholds from the market to steer prices higher, but many observers now believe that stockpile has been depleted or is near to depletion.
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