Swiss Palladium Imports From Russia Seen Lowest in 22 Years

Switzerland’s palladium imports from Russia, the biggest producer of the metal, dropped last year to the lowest level since 1990, according to Barclays Plc.

Shipments fell by 72 percent to 154,600 ounces in 2012, the bank said today in an e-mailed statement. Switzerland imported 6,462 ounces from Russia in December, little changed from the previous month, the Swiss Federal Customs Administration said by e-mail today. The customs data showed only figures for last year.

Sales from Russian inventories, a state secret, were 1,000 ounces in 2010, accounting for 14 percent of global supply, and probably totaled 250,000 ounces last year, London-based Johnson Matthey Plc estimated in November. The sales accounted for most of the remaining reserves, it said at the time. Palladium is mostly used in pollution-control devices in cars.

“The year-end spike in shipments to meet quotas did not materialize and December shipments were consistent with recent months,” Barclays analysts including Suki Cooper in New York wrote in the report. “Shipments to Switzerland are key, but only part of the picture.”

Global demand will outpace supply by 609,000 ounces this year, Barclays estimates. Sales from the Russian inventories will slow to 200,000 ounces this year and 150,000 ounces next year, it says.

Palladium for immediate delivery slipped 0.8 percent to $752 an ounce by 4:34 p.m. in London, cutting this year’s advance to 6.7 percent. It reached $761.99 yesterday, the highest since September 2011.

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