Platinum’s Premium to Gold Widens to 17-Month High; Gold Slips

Platinum rose for a second straight day, widening its premium to gold to a 17-month high, on concern supply may fall after Zimbabwe seized land from the nation’s top miner of the metal. Gold retreated.

Zimbabwe, the third-biggest platinum producer and fifth- largest palladium miner in 2011, repossessed about 69,000 acres of land from Zimplats Holdings Ltd. to offer to new investors, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said yesterday. One ounce of platinum bought as much as 1.0519 ounces of gold in London today, the most since August 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“We see platinum outperforming gold this year on optimism surrounding the global economic recovery and supply disruptions,” Scott Gardner, who helps manage $400 million at Verdmont Capital SA in Panama City, said in a telephone interview.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for delivery in April climbed 0.7 percent to settle at $1,729.70 an ounce at 1:10 p.m. The metal has gained 12 percent this year, mainly as Anglo American Platinum Ltd., the biggest producer, said last month it plans to cut output.

Palladium futures for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to $772.05 an ounce, after reaching $777.60, the highest since Sept. 6, 2011. It is mined alongside platinum and both are used mainly in car pollution control devices. China’s passenger- vehicle sales surged 49 percent to a monthly record in January, the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Feb. 7.

Trading Volume

Futures trading volume was 69 percent higher than the average in the past 100 days for this time of day.

Gold futures for April delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $1,645.10 an ounce on the Comex in New York, declining for the second time in three days. Prices have retreated 1.8 percent this year.

Holdings in exchange-traded products backed by the precious metal headed for the second straight monthly fall. Bullion holdings declined 2.74 metric tons this month to 2,609.53 tons, after slipping 0.7 percent in January, data tracked by Bloomberg showed. The assets rose to a record 2,632.5 tons on Dec. 20.

Silver futures for March delivery slid 0.5 percent to $30.869 an ounce in New York.

To contact the reporters on this story: Debarati Roy in New York at droy5@bloomberg.net; Nicholas Larkin in London at nlarkin1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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