Platinum Posts Longest Run of Quarterly Declines Since 1997

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Platinum posted the longest run of quarterly losses in 18 years amid concern that demand is waning just as mine supply rebounds. Gold fell on Tuesday.

The price of platinum has slumped every quarter since June 2014, when miners ended a five-month strike in South Africa, the world’s largest supplier. The decline extended into this year as slowing European car sales dimmed the outlook for the metal, which is used in pollution-control devices.

Mine output is set to gain this year amid plentiful inventories, CPM Group said in a June 23 report, just as Greece’s debt crisis magnifies demand concerns. Palladium, also used in catalytic converters, tumbled into a bear market this month. Shortages of both metals will contract this year, Johnson Matthey Plc said in May.

“The fundamentals are not that great,” David Meger, the director of metal trading at High Ridge Futures LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The supply situation is improving, but demand has not been strong. Also, the financial turmoil in Europe is a big negative for these precious metals.”

Platinum futures for October delivery declined 0.3 percent to settle at $1,079.50 an ounce at 1:19 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The metal is down for a fourth straight quarter in the longest run of losses since March 1997. Prices touched $1,060.20 on June 22, a six-year low.

Stockpiles “remain larger than at any time prior to 2009,” and supply is expected to recover this year after falling 18 percent in 2014, CPM Group said.

Palladium futures for September delivery rose 0.9 percent to $672.65 an ounce. Earlier, prices reached $664.05, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 1, 2013.

“We have seen a recovery in South African production after strikes last year, and demand hasn’t been spectacular,” Robin Bhar, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in London, said by telephone. “There are a lot of headwinds for these metals.”

Gold futures for August delivery fell 0.6 percent to $1,171.80 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Prices have declined for four straight quarters in the longest slump since June 1997.

Silver futures for September delivery lost 0.7 percent to $15.581 an ounce. Prices slid 6.7 percent this month, the biggest drop since September.

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