London market greenlights Russia’s palladium while blocking its gold

Russia produces 25-30% of the world’s palladium, a precious metal used by automakers in exhaust systems to reduce emissions. (Image: Piqsels)

A market authority said on Tuesday that Russian refiners can continue to sell platinum and palladium in London, the world’s biggest precious metals trading centre, a day after new Russian gold and silver bars were blocked from markets in London and New York.

Traders and analysts said removal of the palladium refiners from London trading would have worsened worries over Russian supply that have sent prices to record highs. 

Russia produces 25-30% of the world’s palladium, a precious metal used by automakers in exhaust systems to reduce emissions.

A block on new Russian gold and silver would have little impact, the traders and analysts said, with the metal likely to find buyers in places like China and the Middle East, as well as the Russian central bank.

Russia also produces around 9% of the gold mined worldwide, 5% of the silver, 10% of platinum and 40% of mined palladium. The metals are widely recycled, so Russia’s share of total supply is lower.

Many banks and shippers have stopped handling Russian goods after governments including the United States and European Union sanctioned Russian individuals, corporates and the central bank after the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The Russian refiners have not been sanctioned.

The London Platinum and Palladium Market (LPPM), an industry association, said it would keep the two Russian refiners it accredits on its “good delivery” list of firms whose material is eligible to trade in London.

“There will be no changes to our good delivery list,” its Chief Administrative Officer, Jane-Anne Wardley, said. “We will obviously continue to monitor and review the situation,” she added, without giving further detail.

The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), another trade group, on Monday suspended all six gold refineries it accredits from its good delivery lists, having earlier asked them if they had links with Russian sanctioned entities.

Hours later, CME Group, whose New York COMEX exchange is the largest precious metals futures trade venue, said it would not accept new gold and silver from those refiners. Both the LBMA and CME said metal produced by the refiners before Monday remains eligible to trade.

The six refineries suspended by the LBMA and CME are JSC Krastsvetmet, JSC Novosibirsk Refinery, JSC Uralelectromed, Moscow Special Alloys Processing Plant, Prioksky Plant of Non-Ferrous Metals and Shyolkovsky Factory of Secondary Precious Metals.

The two refiners the LPPM accredits are JSC Krastsvetmet and the Prioksky Plant of Non-Ferrous Metals.

(By Peter Hobson; Editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman)


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