Palladium Posts Biggest Advance This Month on Supply Threat

  • Amplats mine in South Africa operating on `skeleton staff'
  • Protests are `helping short-term sentiment,' BMO's Wong says

Palladium had its biggest gain this month and platinum climbed as protests disrupted output at an Anglo American Platinum Ltd. mine in South Africa, among the world’s top suppliers of the metals.

Protesting community members were intimidating motorists and blocking roads leading to the Mogalakwena site of Amplats, as the Johannesburg-based unit of Anglo American Plc is known, the company said Tuesday. About half of the revenue at the mine, the company’s largest and most profitable, comes from platinum output, and 19 percent from palladium. Attendance has dropped since last week and the mine in the northern Limpopo province is operating on "skeleton staff," spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said.

“Continuing protests at Amplats are helping short-term sentiment in the platinum group metals,” Tai Wong, the director of commodity products trading at BMO Capital Markets in New York, said in an e-mail.

Palladium futures for December delivery rallied 1.6 percent to settle at $586.55 an ounce at 1:22 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, marking the biggest gain since Aug. 31. Platinum futures for October delivery rose 1.1 percent to $1,002.90 an ounce, the biggest advance in six sessions.

Platinum production fell short of demand by 55,000 ounces in the second quarter, the World Platinum Investment Council said Tuesday. The group raised its full-year deficit forecast to 445,000 ounces, up from 190,000 predicted in the first quarter.

Gold futures for December delivery slipped less than 0.1 percent to $1,121 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Silver futures for December delivery gained 1.4 percent to $14.755 an ounce.

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