Palladium imports by China, the world’s largest auto market, rebounded last year as manufacturers delivered a record number of cars, increasing demand for catalytic converters.
Shipments expanded 8.9 percent to 22,268 kilograms (715,938 ounces) last year from 2012, when imports tumbled 33 percent, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Customs General Administration data released today.
Palladium was listed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. today among its best metals picks for this year on prospects for increased demand, which may erode stockpiles. Total deliveries of cars in China increased 14 percent to 21.98 million units last year and may exceed 24 million in 2014, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers forecast this month.
“The automotive industry is by far the most important demand driver for palladium and the Chinese market is a gasoline-driven one,” said Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “Chinese car sales should continue to rise this year, which favors higher palladium imports.”
Palladium for immediate delivery traded at $746.60 an ounce at 4:15 p.m. in Singapore, 4.2 percent higher this year, after gaining in 2013 and 2012. Faster growth in gasoline-auto markets may support prices this year even as the reserves limit gains, the Goldman analysts wrote in a report today.
Johnson Matthey Plc, which makes about one in three of the world’s autocatalysts, estimated in November that the metal’s global usage in cars will reach 6.97 million ounces in 2013 on a stronger market in China.