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Palladium Extends Rally to Highest Since 2001 on Auto Outlook

Palladium prices rose, extending a rally to the highest since March 2001, as improving prospects for the auto industry boosted demand for the metal used in pollution-control devices in vehicles.

This week, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Daimler AG and Audi AG, the world’s largest makers of luxury cars, forecast record 2011 sales. In 2010, China remained the world’s largest auto market after vehicle sales jumped 32 percent. Palladium futures have jumped 91 percent in the past 12 months, outpacing gains in gold, silver and copper.

“The fundamental reasons are there, like the auto recovery and Chinese demand,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, a strategist at VTB Capital in London. “People are looking at palladium and copper” because of “some underlying fundamentals,” he said.

Palladium futures for March delivery rose $6.70, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $813.45 an ounce at 1:51 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price reached $825.10, the highest since March 20, 2001.

The metal may climb to $1,000 this year on increased investment demand, said Edel Tully, an analyst at UBS Ltd. in London.

Platinum futures for April delivery advanced $20.10, or 1.1 percent, to $1,821.20 an ounce. The price was up for the sixth straight session, the longest rally since September. The metal has climbed 16 percent in the past 12 months.

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